Dear Editor:
Colorado is a good place to do business. Our state’s employers and employees work together in a finely tuned balance that has been maintained for decades.
However, a number of divisive measures on this year’s ballot have threatened this balance and would undermine our strong economy, which has allowed the state to attract jobs and investment.
Earlier the month, several of Colorado’s top elected officials and business leaders announced the removal the four initiatives put on the ballot by organized labor. Amendments 53, 55, 56 and 57 had the potential to be extremely harmful to Colorado business and were withdrawn Oct. 2.
This was a huge accomplishment. But three threatening proposals still remain on the ballot: Amendments 47, 49 and 54. Business and labor have forged an unprecedented agreement that puts the interests of Coloradans first to oppose these reckless amendments.
Business and labor leaders agree that dividing communities and interfering in the relationship between employers and employees will not help Colorado. Therefore, a new issue committee, Colorado Businesses for Sensible Solutions, was established to publicly oppose Amendments 47, 49 and 54.
If passed, these amendments would shift the balance that business and labor leaders in Colorado have maintained for 60 years. The current structure maintains economic stability and allows for the greatest amount of flexibility.
Amendments 47, 49 and 54 are the result of a narrow special interest agenda that will hurt Colorado business. Taken together, these amendments will weaken the voice of small businesses in Colorado and hurt working Coloradans’ ability to advocate for the tools and resources they need to do their job.
Not only does Amendment 47, known as the right-to-work proposal, pit businesses against their employees, but it also is superfluous to existing law. Federal law already prohibits an employer from requiring union membership as a condition of employment and Colorado’s 1943 Labor Peace Act makes it nearly impossible to coerce workers into joining unions or paying agency fees against their will.
Amendment 49 is a solution in search of a problem. Proponents of the measure have tried to lead voters to believe it cuts government waste that is benefiting special interests, but one look at this year’s nonpartisan “Blue Book” voting guide reveals that no cost savings will result if the amendment passes.
Finally, Amendment 54 will hurt all businesses that deal in government contracts by severely limiting their ability to participate in the political process.
We must continue to provide a strong and supportive economic climate in which companies and workers alike can thrive.
With the economy weakening daily, now is not the time to sacrifice the balanced relationship that business and labor have created over the years. Instead of pushing dangerous ideological agendas, we in the business community should be working together to kick-start our economy and grow good paying jobs for Coloradoans.
Walter Isenberg,
president and CEO of Sage Hospitality
Pat Hamil,
chairman and CEO of Oakwood Homes