Neck deep in ballot initiatives — Part II

Organized labor — specifically, the Teamsters, ALF-CIO and UFCW — has lightened the load a bit for Colorado voters by withdrawing four ballot initiatives. Gone now are: Amendment 53, which would have imposed criminal liability on corporate executives for corporate crimes; Amendment 55, which would have done away with the common law employment-at-will doctrine and prohibited employers from firing employees without “just cause”; Amendment 56, which would have required certain employers to provide health insurance coverage for employees; and Amendment 57, which would have eliminated workers’ comp tort immunity (previously discussed here).

What did the unions get for dropping those measures? A group of large businesses has agreed to spend $3 million to defeat three anti-union ballot initiatives.

Colorado is already the nation’s most anti-union state by a sizeable margin, but that hasn’t stopped the enemies of organized labor from trying for more. Amendment 47 is one of those perversely named “right to work” laws. It would amend the state constitution by prohibiting making union membership and payment of union dues a condition of employment. Amendment 49 purportedly aims to achieve “ethical government.” That’s horseshit, of course. What it really does is amend the state constitution to limit deductions from public employees’ paychecks in anti-union ways. Amendment 54 is another fake “clean government” provision. It amends the state constitution to limit rather severely organized labor’s ability to make campaign contributions.

So far, the unions seem to be getting the shitty end of the stick on this deal. The four pro-worker amendments are gone, and there’s no bringing them back for this election. Based on what I’m seeing on the teevee since this deal went down, the employers are none too eager to live up to their part of the bargain. In fact, the pro-47 faction of the business community has ramped up its advertising in a big way over the past few days. I have yet to see, hear or read a single new anti-47, 49 or 54 ad.

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