The union-crushers are coming for Vermont cops

By Guy Page

In his latest blog post, Kevin Ellis — former Burlington Free Press reporter, former power lobbyist in the Vermont State House, and current board member of the Vermont Journalism Trust that oversees VTDigger — says the current practice of policing in America (which he loathes) began when racist America adopted its racist Constitution. It’s a must-read for any law-and-order conservative seeking to understand why so many Vermont movers and shakers distrust police and insist we pay racial reparations and submit to South Africa-style Truth and Reconciliation Commissions.

Ellis is no crank hooting from behind the rope lines as the Power Crowd strides past. Genial, articulate, intensely likable, the self-described “Jersey shore born” Montpelier resident has 356 Twitter followers, among them eight Vermont journalists. He’s a board member of, and big donor to, Vermont Journalism Trust, publishers of VTDigger. After he wrote a June 2019 post titled “If I Were Governor,” Seven Days columnist John Walters gave his possible candidacy four paragraphs. He’s on the board of directors of progressive publishing house Chelsea Green, and can be heard on guest appearances on the Dave Gram Show on WDEV.

Guy Page

When Kevin Ellis talks, people in power listen. Here’s what he’s saying about police:

June 6 tweets: “Police are like highways. You don’t get less crime with more police. You don’t get less traffic with more roads. Move the money into social service programs that exist because market forces fail … Remove police uniforms, guns and weapons. Rebrand them. Retrain them as social workers, EMTs, therapists, coaches. Then pay them more.” June 3 tweet: “We should disband police departments and start over. The way political leaders fear the police is nauseating … Fire them all and rehire officers after an improved vetting and training process.”

Whoa! Union-busting, much? Apparently so and that’s OK with one commenter on the tweet: “Republican politicians generally are anti-union for private sector and even govt workers, but for police, they love unions. Police rank and file have become a political force of their own: conservative, pro-gun, anti-human rights.”

It’s an apt summary for why progressives abhor rank-and-file police officers: they are (1) conservative, (2) support the Second Amendment and are (3) “anti-human rights.” The commenter did not expound on what No. 3 means, but in his blog post, Ellis does:

We watched the Twin Towers destroyed and 3,000 killed by angry terrorists and we do exactly what they want. Go to war, waste our human and financial resources. We then spend billions to arm local police forces with armor and weapons, which are now used in the streets against our own people. And we send black people to prison because we don’t like them, because we need their cheap labor, because we are addicted to the racism embedded in a Constitution that we wrote for ourselves.

To be clear, Ellis does not support violence against police. Instead, he would defunded and disband police departments. Start over.

Firing unionized workers is nothing new for Vermont political and economic elites opposed by a independent, recalcitrant union workers. When the Rutland Herald unionized and went on strike in the early 1980s, the publisher simply hired new reporters. (I was offered the Springfield beat by then-editor Steve Terry. After talking with strike leader Louis Berney, I declined to be a scab.)

More recently, the above-mentioned John Walters strongly implied in a May 28 tweet that he was fired from VTDigger in part because of his leadership role in its union: “The timing is unpleasantly coincidental. It came less than a week after I was named to our unit council, a leadership position in the union.” When asked by Vermont Daily about Walters’ termination, VTDigger publisher Anne Galloway responded June 1, “This is a personnel matter. We will not be providing a comment.”

In February 2010, then-Sen. Peter Shumlin and the rest of the Senate ignored the pleas of organized labor at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and refused to allow the Public Service Board to rule on the low-cost, low-carbon power plant’s application to continue operation. That decision led to the eventual closure of the plant — an outcome all the senators understood at the time. The 160 members of Local 300 of the IBEW protested loudly and publicly. So did 14 other labor unions. Alas, they too were relegated to the rope lines. Just months earlier, the entire Legislature had already anointed Vermont Yankee’s successor by approving big subsidies for solar power at the direction of VPIRG president James Moore — who then left promptly founded SunCommon, Vermont’s leading solar power installer. Pro-union or not, Vermont Yankee stood in the way of the power brokers at the Vermont State House. It had to go.

During the long debate over marijuana legalization, Vermont’s police leaders have been a consistently vocal (albeit ignored) voice in opposition.

So now it is the turn of Vermont police department unions to fight for survival. Another racial equity task force and police oversight bills are moving ahead. Many of Vermont’s ruling elite have decided their members are too independent, too pro-Second Amendment, and too scary to be allowed to remain. Like the Human Race in Douglas Adams’ “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” they are In The Way of Progress. Here come the Vogons.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of city of Montpelier

5 thoughts on “The union-crushers are coming for Vermont cops

  1. Mr Ellis is a scary individual and his interpretation of the Constitution is out of line if not straight up lying. TheConstitution and its accompanying Bill of Rights protect our most basic freedoms. That’s All Americans. Governments first duty is to protect our rights and our person. This is not based on the color of your skin but the fact that you are an American Citizen. OurVermont Constitution gives us the rights to bear arms and protect ourself & our property. Leave them alone.!

  2. Hey Guy, has anyone ever suggested to ” congenial, likable” Mr. Ellis that if he’s so upset, he should return to his beloved Jersey Shore? If he chooses not to, I have some more interesting suggestions and they are quite a few to choose from, all being very enticing. Now let’s begin. How about China, Cuba, Venezuela or even North Korea? Perhaps one of these countries can put soothing ointment on his discontent.

  3. Liberals, they want your guns and now they don’t want the police………

    Wake up people, you voted these liberal fools into office, what have they done
    for you so far, other than putting the state is in Debt, you’re overtaxed, unemployed
    numbers are out of control and now they want to remove the police !!

    Do any liberal have a brain, or have they ever thought any through ?? apparently not.

  4. The guy is a nut and unfortunately a voice for progressivism. He is dangerous for Vermont.

  5. Great Article, Guy,

    So they really want more people on the Big City Solutions to better Vermont?

    You mean the one that has fostered more poverty, broken families, drug and alcohol abuse, dead end jobs, unaffordable housing, you mean all those failed social programs?

    This is how the New World Order rolls…’s not his idea, trust me on that. He’s got marching orders from above, while articulate, well spoken and probably a word smith/sophist extraordinaire these are all sound bites passed down and distributed by those with the socialist hotwire, which is then spread to every cell phone in Vermont on What’s this, Democratic Socialists, Media Matters, Antifa, Black Live Matter, and many more. Ironically and surprisingly nobody notice they send out all the same stuff, sometimes they will trouble themselves to sent it on different days.

    Next week you’ll be hearing from the progressives…same drivel.

    Yeah the big city policies are completely oppressive. The have decimated the democratically controlled cities of modest means and they are ruining our state and families. It matters not your color of skin, but if you adopt the policies laid out by their poverty trap they will own your soul and make millions off keeping you poor. It’s a great business for many, keeping people poor.

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