- Why so much turnover in mayor's office?
- Hearing on the Ruby Hill towers
- Let freedom ring
- Promoting socialized medicine
- Immigration Laws or Lack Thereof
- Atheist Diversionary Tactics
- The "Melting Pot" is unique to America
- Many mighty hearts covering the world
- Roan Drilling Bad for Colorado, country
- Americans entitled to universal health care
HB 1072 undermines Colorado's competitive standing
This Speakout has not been edited
By Tom Clark
Rhetoric continues to swirl over House Bill 1072, a change to Colorado’s long-standing Labor Peace Act. News articles and editorials have focused on workers’ rights and the ability of unions to force so-called “closed shops"-and the business community’s reaction to the impact on our economic bottomline.
Yet, the debate has flown past a critical issue, one that economic developers face each day-Colorado’s regional and national competitive standing. Colorado right now is a highly attractive place to do business. We boast one of the healthiest and most highly trained workforces in the nation. We have invested in our communities and infrastructure through Referendum C, FasTracks, SCFD, Denver International Airport and T-Rex.
And, for the most part, we work together for economic improvement. In the Denver metro region, for example, economic developers do not step on each other’s toes to attract employers. We cooperate to provide the best community possible to an interested company. It’s a model unlike any other in the nation. It works. And employers across the United States, and abroad, have taken notice.
That same cooperative model includes organized labor-for now. That’s due in large measure to the Labor Peace Act. Colorado is unique among the 50 states in its relationship between business and labor. Under the Labor Peace Act, businesses can have union and non-union members. Both types of employees work together and with management.
And because of this unique relationship, labor has been a part of our most important economic development efforts, including DIA, the sports stadiums and FasTracks. That cooperation most likely will fade upon implementation of House Bill 1072.
So why does Colorado’s current system really matter? House Bill 1072 is not a simple technical change, as its proponents contend. House Bill 1072 tilts the scales too far to one side. If House Bill 1072 becomes law, potential employers will rightly cast a wary eye toward Colorado. Colorado’s neighbors-Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Nebraska and Texas-are all “right to work” states, with the exception of New Mexico. “Right to work” laws ban unions from forcing membership as a condition of employment. Obviously, that type of law is fairly attractive to an employer-large or small.
Everyday, Colorado vigorously competes with these neighboring states, specifically Arizona and Texas, for jobs. Our inherent and hard-earned competitive advantages such as geography, quality of life and workforce strength far outweigh our competitors’ “right to work” status.
However, Colorado economic developers still have to address the “right to work” issue for nearly every potential employer. The response for now has been relatively simple: the Labor Peace Act. Colorado is unique. We coexist. We have since 1943, when this was put into law. And it takes that issue off the table.
If House Bill 1072 becomes law, economic developers will have to address the “closed shop” issue. And for our audience, corporate leaders, the response will be considerably more difficult and costly. That’s if we even get the chance before Colorado is passed over in favor of Arizona or Texas.
House Bill 1072 is a solution in search of a problem. Coloradans will much better understand the “problem” when potential employers bypass the Centennial State for our “right to work” neighbors. When this happens, this “solution” will have forced Colorado into an unnecessary and unwarranted competitive disadvantage.
Tom Clark is executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Heaven forbid that employers would have to pay a decent wage. But that is not the issue. Unions have their good points, unions have their bad points ( like corruption). What I do not agree on is that a nonunion employee can reap the same benefits as a union employee. Employees in a company should have the right to vote on whether to be unionized or not. But it should be either all union with everyone paying dues or nonunion with no one paying dues. Open shops stink........