Union members are the new terrorists?

Look out environmental activists, union members and their supporters may now be hot on your tail for the “terrorist” label if one Colorado politico has anything to say about it.

Jon Caldara, president of the conservative Independence Institute think tank, has made controversial remarks before, and when it came to the subject of unions he didn’t disappoint this week. According to an article in The Washington Times, he likened union supporters to terrorists.

Colorado Media Matters has now weighed in:

In a September 30 online article, The Washington Times quoted Jon Caldara, president of the “free market” Independence Institute, as saying, “You shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists” in reference to Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter’s efforts to persuade organized labor to remove four initiatives from the state’s November ballot. The article stated that Ritter’s efforts to get backers of the so-called “right to work” measure Amendment 47 to pull their ballot proposal in exchange for removal of the labor-backed ballot issues have “opened up debate over whether Mr. Ritter is doing the right thing by moving to protect the state’s economy — or buying more trouble by giving in to union blackmail.”

Caldara is also supporting Amendments 49 and 54, two ballot measures that would prohibit certain unions from giving to political campaigns and restrict the way organized labor retains dues from state employees.

Then again, maybe Caldara should be concerned. If organized labor really is a haven for terrorists, its statewide base, which included 8.7 percent of the working population in 2007, is growing!

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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