State Government employees aren't the only "workers" in Connecticut
[L] ast week the president of the state AFL-CIO, Lori Pelletier, went apoplectic at the state Capitol as she addressed legislative proposals to restrain state government’s ever-increasing labor costs.
The proposals, Pelletier said, are “attacking workers,” ... The proposals would:
-- Remove pension and medical insurance benefits from collective bargaining, leaving them for elected officials to decide.
-- Remove overtime earnings from pension calculations, ending a long-running scandal.
-- Eliminate defined-benefit pensions for new state employees, putting them into 401(k) defined-contribution plans like the ones most taxpayers settle for .....
-- [R]equire the General Assembly to vote on all state employee union contracts and arbitration awards so there is no more evasion of political responsibility when the state treasury is looted.
“This is not Connecticut,” Pelletier said. “This is Arkansas. ... All these vicious attacks against the fundamental human right of collective bargaining? Something that is covered by our Constitution?”
In fact the state and federal constitutions say nothing about collective bargaining for government employees. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, great liberals of their time, opposed it, recognizing that it compromises democracy, elevating a special interest to equality with the government.
But to Pelletier and other state employee union leaders, the term “working people” covers only those who work for the government. ...
Except that, increasingly, those excluded by the government employee union definition of “working people” ... seem to consider themselves “working people” too -- only “working people” who are not paid to stay home on Columbus Day and the five other inconsequential holidays enjoyed by government employees in Connecticut; “working people” whose overtime is not credited toward their defined-benefit pensions, because they have no such pensions; "working people" whose jobs are not guaranteed even if they are caught smoking dope while operating their employer’s motor vehicles, as state employees who smoke dope while operating state government vehicles are protected; and “working people” whose fringe benefit levels are not guaranteed by contract for 20 years at a time, as the benefits of state government employees are.
No, these "working people" increasingly recognize that their only right is to pay for the other “working people” and that their democracy has become a sham because, through collective bargaining and binding arbitration for government employee union contracts, the bulk of public expense has been removed from the ordinary democratic process.
Even as Pelletier denounced this as ingratitude, the Connecticut Post reported that the deputy police chief in Bridgeport, a city always pleading poverty, is retiring with a lump-sum payment of $450,000 and a lifetime pension of $15,500 per month, $186,000 per year, $36,000 more than the governor is paid to run the whole state.
So who works for whom in Connecticut? And why do those who do the paying get such sanctimonious slop in return?