Union says goodbye to living wage, property tax proposals

The United Food and Commercial Workers union announced Wednesday that it will be retracting two proposals set for the 2008 ballot after negotiations with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter.

UFCW will be pulling one proposal that would have required some employers to pay a living wage based on the federal Consumer Price Index. The other would have changed the state tax code by five percent, increasing commercial property taxes .  

Both proposals were part of four ballot initiatives submitted by UFCW in March titled the “Middle Class Bill of Rights,” meant to counter a so-called “right-to-work” proposal, officially titled Amendment 47, that seeks to restrict the way unions organize in the state.

Following a  recent Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce vote to oppose the amendment, the union decided to withdraw the two ballot proposals, which the chamber opposed. Ritter has been negotiating with the two groups, according to a UFCW press statement.

Amendment 47 has been a hot topic in the business community, with the Denver chamber opposing it and the state’s chamber, called the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, supporting it.

The remaining two UFCW initiatives would give employees injured on the job stronger legal rights against their employers and would require companies with more than 20 employees to provide medical health care coverage.

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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