April 10, 2008

Big Labor Ritter Low on Credibility

As a leading political consultant notes in the Denver Post today, Gov. Bill Ritter planted the pro-union seeds, and now he is reaping the right-to-work whirlwind:
Political observers don't have high hopes that the situation will improve.

"If (Ritter's) goal is trying to get business to back off right-to-work, I don't think he has the credibility to do it," said Katy Atkinson, a Republican political strategist, pointing out that he is seen as pro-labor.

Atkinson said right-to-work bills in the legislature never got off the ground in the past — even under Republicans — because businesses never really saw organized labor as a threat in Colorado.

But that view changed, she said, after the passage of an amendment in 2006 to increase the minimum wage with a yearly cost-of-living index, efforts to get a bill passed last year to make it easier to unionize workplaces and Ritter's executive order in November allowing a form of collective bargaining for state employees.
Last week I noted:
Since Ritter helped to set the wheels in motion that got Colorado to where it’s at now, I guess he really had no choice but try to step in and stop it: for his own sake, for the Democratic Party’s sake, for the sake of Big Labor.
Colorado's Democratic governor has aligned himself with union leaders, and now he's stuck. Bill Ritter's attempt to portray himself as a business-friendly moderate candidate in 2006 has been exposed as the charade it was. Katy Atkinson is right: Ritter doesn't have enough credibility left with business leaders to convince them to stop the ballot initiative that would protect workers from mandatory union fees.

Look forward to a bitter and costly political showdown this fall. It's hard to see how business and labor are going to holster their weapons now.

Cross posted at Mount Virtus

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