The Denver Post reports today that Big Labor has escalated its political battle with the business community by introducing new proposals for Colorado’s fall ballot:
The five ballot initiatives filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 include measures that would:
â€¢ Deny tax breaks and incentives to companies that relocate jobs outside Colorado.
â€¢ Require businesses to pay more in property taxes.
â€¢ Allow injured workers to sue employers outside the workers’ compensation system.
Along with ballot proposals backed by other unions, Monday’s filings further set the stage for a fiery showdown between business and labor in November.
Big Labor has pulled out the big guns to try to shoot down one “right-to-work” initiative – for which signatures currently are being collected:
“We saw that if right to work is something voters approve in November, eventually â€” inevitably â€” workers’ rights are going to suffer,” said Manny Gonzales, a spokesman for the food workers union.
Protecting workers from being forced to pay union fees will cause workers’ rights to suffer? Only in Orwellian doublespeak. And as a spokesman for the other side reminds readers, the right-to-work initiative wasn’t the first salvo in this battle:
“The unions started this,” said Dan Pilcher, a spokesman for the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, which supports the right-to-work proposal. “The business community doesn’t feel like this was a fight that it initiated by any means whatsoever.”
Labor pushed legislation last year to repeal a requirement that there be a supermajority vote of employees to form a union, a measure Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter vetoed.
In November, Ritter issued an executive order that gave state employees a weakened form of collective bargaining. Although the order gives state workers the right to collectively negotiate, they can’t force agreements on the governor and legislature that would require higher appropriations.
For this and other reasons, politics is going to be no serene affair this year in Colorado.