Rank liberal blogger David Thielen among the confused and misinformed about Amendment 49. Now David and I have a cordial relationship, so the misinformation and illogic in his attack on Amendment 49 deserve a cordial response.
First, though, I have to say David did the most admirable job I have yet seen in trying to argue against the Ethical Standards Initiative. His case is miles ahead of the deception and hypocrisy in the well-heeled opposition Protect Colorado’s
Culture of Corruption Future.
Nevertheless, David still comes up short. His primary problem is rooted in the fact that he thinks Amendment 49 somehow will affect the Colorado Labor Peace Act. Simply put, it doesn’t. (Read the ballot language for yourself.) Even so, David goes as far as to offer a quote from the Chamber of Commerce [his link is broken, so I’m not sure to which Chamber he’s referring] about the importance of the Labor Peace Act. That’s fine, but no reason to oppose Amendment 49. Else, why would the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce both endorse the good-government initiative?
David writes that Amendment 49 “is an attempt to reduce the power of the unions pure & simple.” This simply is a rhetorical and unanswerable question of motive, a common liberal fallacy to make judgments based on opinions of intentions. It’s an assumption, and may in fact be true of some supporters, but shouldn’t sway any clear-thinking Colorado voter to take a stand on either side.
If supporters’ motives were to clean up government, should that be the sole basis on which the amendment is judged? I don’t believe David would think so. But its practical impacts can be judged in the facts that numerous local Colorado governments – including 12 counties representing more than half the state’s population – have successfully passed the measure without the negative fallout some scaremongers have predicted for Amendment 49.
Will Amendment 49 affect unions? Indirectly, as it will also affect other professional associations and lobbying organizations. Amendment 49 is essentially a restriction on government’s ability to collect and bundle money for political groups. If unions are most affected, it is only because they have taken most advantage of the scheme.
To the title of David’s post, will Amendment 49 somehow “eliminate public employee unions”? Only if these unions are doing such a dismal job that when they ask their members for money through a direct private payment, rather than benefiting from an automatic government payroll deduction, the members will say No. If the union has proven its value to its membership, collecting dues through a private method as opposed to a government method should make little or no difference.
As public school employee Michael at Best Destiny explains about Amendment 49:
Personally, I don’t see the big deal. It’s certainly not the end of the world. If the union is really doing its job and representing its people, than the people shouldn’t have any problem signing the slip of paper at their bank that makes it possible to just hand the money over.
On the other hand, if people realize how little their unions actually do for them compared to the budget they operate under, maybe this really IS a big deal.
If Amendment 49 passes, only one thing is assured: government quits being the middleman in the dues collection process for labor unions and professional associations. Public employee unions are only “eliminated” if they utterly fail to represent the workers they purport to represent. And in that extreme and unlikely case, which David wants us to believe is the inevitable result of the initiative, newer and more accountable unions and other membership organizations would fill the void. Because Amendment 49 allows public employees to retain all their essential rights to join or not to join, to pay dues or not to pay dues.
So since there is no harm to Colorado public employees, why is David so fearful about Amendment 49? I won’t assume to know the answer. But maybe he can elaborate.