Senate Filibusters, Now In Argument Over Labor Bill

A bill that seeks to make it easier for labor unions to obtain job shops, places where newly hired workers are required to join a union where a union election has been won, is being debated at this moment in the Senate chambers, with Republican lawmakers looking to attach amendments to the measure.

Colorado Confidential will keep you updated on proceedings.


But wait, there’s more. They seem to be back again.
Those interested can listen here.


Chair rules amendment is not under title. Senate puts labor bill on a layover and moves on to business. It’s over for now.


Sen Mitchell proposes and amendment that would require a union to disclose to all members the nature of the all-union agreement face to face.


Division requested. Amendment fails.


Amendment is purposed to exempt the bill from child care businesses.


Chairs says there are 34 new amendments on the desk. Jokingly says lawmakers should call family members to let them know they will be working “all night.”


Amendment fails.


Sen. Mitchell proposes an amendment to allow unions to only bargain for an all-union shop if they have been authorized to seek such agreements within their charter or their original formation. Division requested.


Division is requested. Amendment to put bill up for vote fails.

Sen. Ward starts talking about TABOR and is in favor of the amendment. Chair asks Ward to stick with debate.


Sen. Mitchell says General Assembly leadership and Ritter are responsible for breaking labor law tradition. Chairman reminds everyone to talk civilly.


Sen. Wiens continues to talk on history of Colorado Labor Peace Act. Chairman asks Wiens twice to move on to issue at hand. Debate continues.


Penry proposes amendment to allow voters to decide whether or not to keep the status-quo (Colorado Labor Peace Act)  as it is now for labor laws and union elections. Chair says bill does fit under title, but urges Penry to move on to debate having to do with measure.

Amendment is proposed by Sen. Mitchell to make labor groups pay for a financial analysis to submit to businesses to prove that the unionization will not hurt the business. Chair quickly says bill is not under title.


“Hmmm, let me think,” says Sen. Veiga as she asks if amendment is under title. Chair says amendment is not under title.


Sen. Mitchell proposes amendment to require union elections to be reconsidered every two years.


Amendment fails


Sen. Mitchell asks to add technical amendment to the amendment being discussed. Chair says Mitchell would have to propose new amendment with new language to be debated.  Amendment is withdrawn, and new one is proposed with changes. It is being dicusssed now.


Sen. Penry speaks in favor of the amendment.

“There was a place and a time for big unions a hundred years ago when there was a legitimate case of businesses doing inappropriate things to employees,” he says.

But now Penry says things have changed with a “global economy” where workers can go anywhere.


Sen. Mitchell proposes an amendment to make bill only apply to workplaces with 25 or more employees, in an effort to “protect” small businesses.


Sen. Brophy proposes an amendment that would require unions to re-ratify their all union agreement every year. Sen. Veiga asks whether amendment is under title.  Chair rules amendment is not under title.


Division is called on amendment, which is called Amendment 50. Those in favor are asked to stand. Those opposed are asked to stand. Amendment 50 fails.


Sen. Tochtrop quickly speaks back, saying that nurses are qualified and educated animals. Debate is becoming heated over Medicaid reimbursements, or as to why hospitals would need help.


Sen. Penry proposes an amendment that would exempt health clinics from the bill. Sen. Veiga says amendment reads as if it would negate the bill rather than just exempting health clinics. Sen. Brophy speaks in favor, saying rural hospitals are hard-pressed to find qualified workers.


Chair asks legislators to keep in mind that the labor bill is under a “very tight title,” but says everyone is free to speak on the bill.


Another Senator calls for an amendment; to analyze the impact the bill would have on small businesses. Sen. Veiga asks if bill is under title. Chair rules that proposal does not fit under title and will not be voted on.

Sen. Renfroe is calling for an amendment that would disclose to employees that under the bill they could be “paying [union] dues forever.” Chair rules that amendment does not fit under title.


Amendment is withdrawn and house bill is read in full.


Sen Penry moves to add an amendment that would make the bill not apply to current workers at a workplace, saying that if an employee has worked somewhere for a number of years he or she should be able to choose weather nor not to join a union. Sen. Veiga asks for ruling as to whether or not proposal was under title.


Sen. Brophy moved to add an amendment to shed light on donations unions give to politicians. Chairman ruled that it was not under title and could not be voted on.


Sen. Penry moved to add an amendment that would make Colorado a “right to work” state, where no worker is forced to join a union under any circumstance. Sen. Veiga said that the amendment did not fit under title. Chairman ruled that amendment does not fit under the bill’s title.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at

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