“Don’t give a crap” WINS Bill Ritter’s State Employee Union Elections

Gov. Bill Ritter’s November 2007 executive order at last has successfully completed the loop in unionizing state government in a very un-democratic fashion. Today’s Denver Post reports:

At least 22,500 secretaries, prison guards and other state employees will soon fall under a union contract following a vote tallied Wednesday, though the majority of eligible workers didn’t cast a ballot….

About 6,900 state workers from a pool of 22,500 who were eligible participated in the election, which gave them a choice between Colorado WINS [editorial comment: “Big Labor WINS, Colorado LOSES”] or no union representation. Of those, 5,481 supported the union.

That’s right. Fewer than one-quarter of eligible state employees voted to be unionized. This is a smaller number than the 30 percent who signed the union petition cards to hold the election in the first place!

Labor guru Mike Antonucci opts for the biting, cynical approach to characterizing the election returns:

In favor of unionizing – 5,481 (24.4%)

Against unionizing – 1,419 (6.3%)

Don’t give a crap – 15,600 (69.3%)

“Backroom” Bill Ritter opened the door to unionizing state employees without any sort of public debate, submitting a Friday afternoon executive order. More than six months later, the big election of state employees takes place, and at first glance it appears that most of them “don’t give a crap.”

We can only hope that Ritter lives up to his promise not to impose agency fees on non-union workers, because they might start caring then. Regardless of whether he holds to that promise or not, more and more Colorado taxpayers should start caring as the price of government services goes up.

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