Friday, January 12, 2007

Colorado Dems Repaying Favors to Union Bosses?

The newly expanded Democrat power base in Denver stands poised to repay the union bosses who joined ultraliberal benefactors Tim Gill and Pat Stryker in helping to buy their recent elections. Introduced this week in the Colorado state legislature is House Bill 1072 by Democrat Rep. Michael Garcia, which would eliminate the requirement that a majority of workers has to cast a ballot to approve a union agreement to create a closed shop and collect agency fees.

That's right: in other words, union bosses and their Democrat allies just want to assume the financial support of the average working man without even holding an honest election first. Of course, federal law as it stands now would supersede the state legislation, keeping the majority vote requirement in place. But Senator Ted Kennedy has attempted before to change federal law with "card-check" legislation, and can be fully expected to try it again.

"Card-check" legislation eliminates the secret ballot requirement for workers to accept union representation, and instead enables union organizers to employ subtle, coercive - and often deceitful - tactics to use workers' signatures to their advantage. Workers may be pressured into signing a card supporting union representation, often misled into believing a signature merely calls for a secret ballot election.

Union bosses can use the arrangement to cajole employers into setting up a closed shop agreement requiring all workers on site to pay fees - including political contributions - to the union. Unfortunately, it often happens that the employer and the union boss cut a back-room deal at the expense of the working stiffs.

As jurisprudence stands now, workers can go through a lengthy, often arduous, and bureaucratic process to ask for the political money back from the union (and sometimes, even get it). Prior Supreme Court decisions (such as Abood and Beck) require that as a minimum protection. A favorable ruling from the 9 Justices in the Washington Education Association case might give dissenters some more hope, but such a ruling cannot be counted on to solve the problem.

Unions in Colorado are looking to solidify and expand their power headed into 2008 and beyond. The approval of House Bill 1072 in the state legislature (can Governor Ritter really be counted on to veto a bill that would line the pockets of some of his biggest contributors?), along with Ted Kennedy-style "card-check" legislation enacted through Congress, would spell trouble for the freedom of many individual workers in our great state.

If it happens, it's called paying the price for giving the Democrats the reins of government.


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