Bad Note

The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado refuses to sing to Big Labor’s tune:

There’s a relentless drive by organized labor to get its way legislatively where it hasn’t been able in the workaday world.

In Colorado, the latest manifestation of this is SB180. If enacted, this bill would mandate that local governments allow their firefighters and law enforcement officers to unionize, whether the taxpaying public of those governments approve or not.

A hearing has been scheduled today on what’s titled the “Firefighter and Law Enforcement Officer Collective Bargaining Act.” The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, and Rep. Casso Edward, D-Denver.

Colorado law now allows city and county residents to decide whether workers employed by local government should be able to organize. Some communities have approved collective bargaining and others haven’t.

SB180 would take the decision-making out of the hands of local taxpayers. All compensation for unionized public safety workers would be decided by a system that favors employees over taxpayers. And if unionized workers didn’t like their contracts, they could force them unilaterally to be renegotiated.

This bill would be an unfunded mandate on local communities which up to now have declined to have union pacts with firefighters or police or sheriff’s officers. Why should legislation carried by metro-area lawmakers be forced down the throats of small communities in Southern Colorado?

Local employment decisions should be made at the local level. They should not be mandated by lawmakers in Denver who dance to the tune of Big Labor.

Right now local governments are seeing their tax revenues decline. This is not the time to force them to reallocate finite finances because lawmakers who live a hundred miles away want to please union bosses who have been unable to get their way.

SB180 is an anti-democratic assault on local government and the taxpayers who foot the bills. It should be given a fitting last rite – say a funeral pyre on the Statehouse steps.