‘No’ on Amend. 47

We believe people should have the right to choose whether they belong to a labor union or pay dues to a union, but we have several problems with Amendment 47, which would enshrine those rights in the Colorado Constitution.

First, it sets too broad a definition of labor unions, possibly including even groups that promote workplace safety or job-related education, according to the Blue Book analysis of the measure.

Additionally, there is the question of need. Although Colorado is not an absolute right-to-work state now, under the 1940s’ Labor Peace Act, it has one of the toughest procedures of any state for authorizing union representation and mandating union memberships. Two separate secret-ballot elections are required at private businesses to approve unions and require union membership or dues payment.

Labor unions and Democrats in the state Legislature tried to change that in 2007, but Gov. Bill Ritter wisely vetoed the bill to overturn the Labor Peace Act.

Additionally, even information supplied by supporters of Amendment 47 shows Colorado ranks in the top five states in the country for its business-friendly atmosphere. Clearly, existing labor laws aren’t a deterrence to business in this state.

That could change drastically, however, thanks to the labor backlash generated when 28-year-old Jonathan Coors — a member of the brewing family and an executive at CoorsTek in Golden — put the Amendment 47 campaign together.

Four amendments on the Colorado ballot this year — 53, 55, 56 and 57 — were pushed by labor unions largely in response to the ill-conceived Amendment 47.

We have already made it clear that those amendments will stifle business and kill jobs in this state and must be defeated.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there was still a possibility of an agreement between labor unions and business interests under which the unions would withdraw their four ballot measures and, in return, business groups would pay for advertising to oppose amendments the labor groups object to, especially Amendment 47. But unless that agreement is reached and the labor initiatives are pulled by 5 p.m. today, it will be too late.

With or without such an agreement, we believe Coloradans should vote against Amendment 47 and all four of the labor ballot measures. Then perhaps we can return to sensible discussions about labor laws and not engage in dueling ballot measures that amount to mutually assured destruction of our business and worker rights.


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