Vote no on Amendment 47 |

Vote no on Amendment 47

As the president of Eagle River Professional Firefighters, I must preface this letter by admitting that our firefighters are not recognized by our fire board and we do not work under a labor contract. While I am biased to NOT support 47, we gain nothing if the amendment fails and lose nothing if the amendment passes.

As most of you are tired of hearing, there is a huge fight on Amendment 47.

Proponents like Jake Jabs want you to believe that Amendment 47 simply allows an employee to decide whether or not to be in a union. This is a dramatic over simplification of this amendment. What they do not tell you is that it is already against the law to require any employee to belong to a labor union. No employee is required to join a labor union if they do not want to. The National Labor Relations Act and the Colorado Labor Peace Act mandate this. In addition, any employee who chooses not to be in a union must still be protected by the union should they be disciplined or want to file a grievance. All of this for NOT wanting to join.

Here is the intent of Amendment 47 as I see it. By law, a labor contract between employees and their employer, no matter if it is a public or private employer, must cover all employees of that business whether they are members of the labor union or not. Because labor agreements have to cover all employees and almost always result in higher wages and improved benefits, non-union members of that company are required by law to pay a stipend to cover the costs of negotiating that contract. This stipend is always a fraction of the costs that full union members pay monthly for that local union to exist. The stipend does not go towards any political or social spending that the local union may decide to fund.

The intent of Jake Jabs’ amendment is to no longer require nonunion members from having to pay the stipend, in turn reducing the funding needed by the local union to negotiate for better wages and benefits for ALL employees, and will probably result in that local union folding because of lack of funds. This is not about the choice of an employee belonging to a union or not, it is about tactics that will slowly erode employees’ abilities to negotiate for better wages and improved benefits.

Do you really think Jake Jabs is standing up for the few employees who do not want to be in a union? Absolutely not. He does not care who is in a union and who is not. He is worried about having to sit down with his employees and discussing their wages and benefits on a regular basis.

Lastly, this is a constitutional amendment to our state constitution. Do we really want amendments that will negatively affect our workforce to muck up our constitution? I would hope not. Please vote “no” on 47.

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