Labor-Business Tussle Continues With Creation of New Committees

Backers of a so-called “right-to-work” initiative have upped the ante in the battle of the ballots between labor and business groups with the formation of Defend Our Economy, a new issue committee meant to oppose union-backed initiatives to regulate corporate crime and employer-sponsored health care.The committee is being supported by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, the organization that has been fighting union attempts to put legislation on the 2008 ballot that would require employers to have a reason for firing an employee and would hold corporate executives criminally liable for business misconduct.

Attorney John Berry, an initial backer of the right-to-work proposal, created the committee.

The right-to-work measure was certified to be on this year’s ballot on Monday.

Another group called Coloradan for Responsible Reform — which has not taken a position on right-to-work — is also being lead by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to oppose initiatives submitted by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local.

One of the union’s proposals would require all employers to supply an annual wage or salary increase to account for an increase in the cost of living, as measured by the state’s Consumer Price Index.

Another would require employers with more than 20 employees to cover health care costs.

So far no labor-backed initiatives have been certified for the ballot.

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 erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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