As a leading political consultant notes in the Denver Post today, Gov. Bill Ritter planted the pro-union seeds, and now he is reaping the right-to-work whirlwind:
Political observers don’t have high hopes that the situation will improve.
“If (Ritter’s) goal is trying to get business to back off right-to-work, I don’t think he has the credibility to do it,” said Katy Atkinson, a Republican political strategist, pointing out that he is seen as pro-labor.
Atkinson said right-to-work bills in the legislature never got off the ground in the past â€” even under Republicans â€” because businesses never really saw organized labor as a threat in Colorado.
But that view changed, she said, after the passage of an amendment in 2006 to increase the minimum wage with a yearly cost-of-living index, efforts to get a bill passed last year to make it easier to unionize workplaces and Ritter’s executive order in November allowing a form of collective bargaining for state employees.
Since Ritter helped to set the wheels in motion that got Colorado to where itâ€™s at now, I guess he really had no choice but try to step in and stop it: for his own sake, for the Democratic Partyâ€™s sake, for the sake of Big Labor.
Colorado’s Democratic governor has aligned himself with union leaders, and now he’s stuck. Bill Ritter’s attempt to portray himself as a business-friendly moderate candidate in 2006 has been exposed as the charade it was. Katy Atkinson is right: Ritter doesn’t have enough credibility left with business leaders to convince them to stop the ballot initiative that would protect workers from mandatory union fees.
Look forward to a bitter and costly political showdown this fall. It’s hard to see how business and labor are going to holster their weapons now.
Cross posted at Ritter Watch