Ballot measures dealing with labor issues deserve to be defeated
September 19, 2008
In order to make an informed decision on any of the labor related amendments on the Colorado 2008 ballot, one must look at them as a package.
They are different sides of political swords, placed on the ballot by opposing sides.
Before you vote on Amendment 47, 55, 56 or 57, know who put them on the ballot and why.
With these initiatives, labor and business interests are battling each other at the expense of the voter.
Amendment 47: Known as the Right to Work Initiative, this initiative took shape last year after Gov. Bill Ritter signed an executive order giving state workers the right to organize.
In response, the group “A Better Colorado” wrote this piece that would prohibit employers from creating “union shops” wherein employees would be required to pay union membership dues as a condition of employment.
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The amendment is being opposed by the labor group Protect Colorado’s Future.
Opponents to Amendment 47 submitted several ballot initiatives to politically counteract Amendment 47. Those that made it on this November’s ballot are Amendment 55 (Just Cause), Amendment 56 (Health Insurance Initiative) and Amendment 57 (Safe Workplace Initiative).
Amendment 55 would require employers to establish and document just cause before firing or suspending any full-time employee.
Filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7, Amendment 56 would require every employer that employs more than 20 people to provide health care coverage for those employees. Passage would also set up an insurance authority to administer the program.
Amendment 57, also filed by United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7, would allow an employee to sue for damages above and beyond any workman’s compensation settlements. It reads, “enabling employees who are injured because of an employer’s violation … to file suit in district court, with the right to a jury trial, to recover compensatory and exemplary damages, actual past or future pecuniary losses, and noneconomic losses including pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life, but prohibiting injured employees from recovering any damages for which the employee already received compensation pursuant to the ‘Workers’ Compensation Act of Colorado.'”
While these initiatives are framed as solutions to very real problems like health care coverage and workplace conditions, they are no more than political maneuvers by two sides ” labor and business.
Both sides are misusing our democratic process for their political positioning. We, the voters, are nothing more than children used as pawns in two parents’ divorce hearing.
The best move is to vote no on every one of these labor relations amendments, sending the message to both sides that the ballot is not the proper venue for their jousting match.