Manager of swanky Broadmoor terms check card elections ‘un-American’

In a story this week about the proposed federal Employee Free Choice Act, Roll Call evokes those glorious days of Cripple Creek gold fortunes that built Colorado’s historic Broadmoor hotel. Specifically, Broadmoor manager Steve Bartolin opposes the current prospect of required card check elections as “un-American.”

From the Roll Call story:

Colorado’s Broadmoor Hotel was originally financed with an early 20th-century gold and copper fortune, but these days, management is preoccupied with an altogether different form of prospecting.

This time it’s unions, backed by President-elect Barack Obama and Democratic majorities in the Senate and House, who are looking to organize the Broadmoor’s maids, bellhops and other unskilled labor through a streamlined process dubbed “card check.”

Under a card check election, a union bargaining unit could be formed as soon as a majority of workers signed authorization cards. More vexing to employers, however, is that under the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, the employer would no longer have the right to call for a subsequent secret-ballot vote on unionization.

To Steve Bartolin, who runs the five-star Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, the notion of rewriting portions of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act to require card check elections is “un-American.”

“If you give people a good working environment and you treat them fairly with dignity and respect, you abide by laws and rules in the workplace today, hopefully there’s not a need for that,” Bartolin said. “What bothers me about this legislation is that it tilts the playing field in such an unfair manner.”

Since George W. Bush took office, the Broadmoor, in Colorado Springs, has gained a newfound claim to fame of sorts for being the place where Bush got drunk for the last time.

The references to Colorado’s Cripple Creek days of yore may be romantic and all, but in truth the hotel, which last month achieved its 33rd straight five-diamond rating from AAA, is now owned by the gazillionaire Gaylord family — which also owns Opryland. Family patriarch Ed Gaylord died in 2003; the year before, Forbes magazine ranked him number 100 in its annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, with $1.8 billion in worth.

In 2006, the Broadmoor was a major opponent of Amendment 42 to increase Colorado’s minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.85, and then be increased yearly for inflation.

The Broadmoor pumped more than $100,000 into the campaign to battle the amendment to increase the minimum wage in Colorado — and yes, many of its own workers are low-wage earners. Despite their efforts, the measure passed.

And now that the proposed Employee Free Choice Act is on the table, on to Washington!

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Cara Degette

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