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Colorado governor confronts business and labor

Steven K. Paulson
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” Gov. Bill Ritter tried to convince business leaders Monday not to put a measure on the November ballot asking voters to make Colorado a “right-to-work” state, saying it could create a hostile business environment.

The measure would prohibit mandatory union membership or mandatory union dues for Colorado workers.

Ritter said he also wants to meet with labor leaders to convince them not to run five competing initiatives that would require employers to give workers annual cost-of-living increases and provide health insurance.

“We now have what a lot of people have called mutually assured destruction,” Ritter said during his monthly interview on KOA-AM radio.

He said if the competing measures on the ballot in November, “it would really be, I think, a very difficult business environment in the state of Colorado.”

The governor says he opposes initiatives from both sides because he believes they don’t belong in the constitution.

The union measures, filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7, also include proposals would deny tax breaks and incentives to companies that relocate jobs outside Colorado, require businesses to pay more in property taxes and allow injured workers to sue employers outside the workers’ compensation system.

Kate Horle, spokeswoman for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, which is taking part in the talks, declined comment.

Dan Pilcher, a spokesman for the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, which supports the right-to-work proposal, did not return a call seeking comment.


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