Nov 042007

Gov. Bill Ritter signed an executive order Friday allowing state employees to unionize with the intention of “improving government services, achieving efficiencies, and establishing the framework for discussing issues of mutual concern to the employees and the state.”

On Sunday, the Denver Post issued its response, blasting the governor for “his plan to drive up the cost of doing business in Colorado by forcing collective bargaining on thousands of state employees,” and condemned his decision as nothing more than “pandering to unions.”

And, what’s more, they did this on the front page, right next to a news article on the subject.

Rather than condemn them for their poor taste in placement, which calls into question the credibility of the news piece on the issue, or the excessive use of ad hominem attacks, which affect the credibility of the editorial, we would like to take on a couple key claims of the Post’s editorial.

First, Ritter is no “bagman for unions and special interests.”

It is alarming that the Post’s Editorial staff has such a short memory. Earlier this year, Ritter vetoed a bill pushed that would have expanded union access to workplaces, angering many within his own party. Obviously an action a man in the pocket of unions and labor, right?

The Post also cites experts who say “collective bargaining can add as much as 30 percent to the cost of doing business.”

That may be true – we have no “experts” to refute this claim – but we suspect these experts were citing cases in which binding arbitration is practiced.

Unlike these cases, Ritter’s plan does not tie the government’s hands in any way. The so-called “partnership agreements” reached by the state and its employees are more like suggestions. The government, however, is not required to follow them. Knowing the Republicans in Congress, we feel safe saying that if an increase in spending is involved, the agreement won’t likely be followed.

What Ritter did here was merely recognize a fundamental right in our constitution – the right to organize.

Before the Post huffs and puffs about increasing government, they may want to actually read what changes are being made.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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