Thursday, September 25, 2008

Colorado Proposed Amendment 47 - Right-to-Work? Or Anti-Union?

Here's how I see Colorado Proposed Amendment 47. The anti-union crowd calls this the "right-to-work" amendment. From what I can tell, "right-to-work" laws interfere with the freedom of businesses and unions to contract. And they hurt workers.

Workers already have a right to work wherever they can qualify for a position, so the title of this amendment is a misnomer. The proponents of this amendment are big-business executives with an interest in busting unions.

It's not a workers' rights amendment, as the title might suggest. The real question is whether companies and unions can require employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

As it stands, no one is forced to join a union, but if they choose to work at a company with a union contract, they can be required to pay dues for the benefits they receive. By accepting employment at that company, even non-union members get the benefits of the union contract negotiations. Should they get a free ride?

If Amendment 47 passes, non-union workers would get a free ride with union protection without having to pay union dues. That is, if any unions still could afford to protect workers without funding through workers' dues.

This proposed Amendment 47 also is really harsh. It creates a criminal penalty for charging union dues. It goes so far as to put this criminal penalty into our state Constitution.

Proposed Amendment 47 is an effort to get rid of unions by taking away their funding. It's not an effort to protect workers. It's to protect big business. Given the way big-business has fumbled big-time and cost us billions, if not trillions, is it a good idea to bust the unions now? Who will speak for labor?

If you think unions help workers, vote no on proposed Amendment 47.

Or if you oppose amending our Constitution to add criminal penalties for charging union dues, vote no on proposed Amendment 47.

In any case, vote!

Here's the text of proposed Amendment 47: Colorado Secretary of State

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