Monday, June 2, 2008

Lewis smacks down arguments for "Right-to-work"

I've long enjoyed the work of Denver Post business columnist Al Lewis. He's one of the few watchdogs in the local media, unafraid to pursue stories that may be unpopular in the local business community. In a prior job I met with Lewis a handful of times to discuss some concerns tht my clients were having. No story every came of those meetings but I came away quite impressed with Lewis. He's got a no-nonsense attitude is interested in how the actions of local business affects the average worker and citizen.

Today Lewis takes a hatchet to the proponents of the anti-worker "Right-to-work" Amendment 47. Lewis notes that the primary backer of this odious measure is Jonathon Coors, of the famed brewing family. Coors organized this campaign in his role as Director of Government Relations for the privately held company Coors-Tek. Lewis notes that Coors obession with workers in Colorado seems oddly placed, since his company is only hiring in Asia.

It's unclear why CoorsTek cares so much about Colorado's unions.

The company has been busy expanding and creating jobs . . . in Asia.

CoorsTek celebrated the grand opening of its new plant in Gumi City, South Korea, on May 15...

Roughly one-third of CoorsTek's 2,700 employees are in Asia and Europe — presumably to be close to customers, including Samsung, LG Phillips LCD, Hynix and Magnachip Semiconductor.

Jonathon Coors comes from a family with a long history of anti-worker behavior and far-right politics. His interest in this ballot measure seems borne out of spite for Colorado's labor unions than in any real concern for the workers of Colorado. If he cared about Colorado and Colorado's working families he would be creating new jobs right here at home instead of in South Korea.

As Lewis notes there is hardly a need to suppress union organizing in Colorado, the entire percentage of Colorado workers who are union members is just 8%. The 65 year old "Labor Peace Act" has prevented labor from gaining a strong foothold in the state. The business community has not rallied around the Amendment 47 campaign. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce actively worked to prevent Coors from bringing the measure forward and now has refused to take a position on the measure.

Amendment 47 is, as Lewis' column headline reads, a "solution" in search of a problem. The deck is already stacked against union organizing in Colorado via the "Labor Peace Act." Union membership in Colorado is far below the national percentage of 12.1%. As I have noted before Amendment 47 is a thinly veiled attack at the economic base of unions. Nothing more.

Jonathon Coors is an elitist who comes from a privileged family. He has no concern for the working families of Colorado. He outsources jobs to South Korea while hypocritically claiming concern for the economic health of Colorado.

Lewis notes that Coors radical activism may be an issue for his families brewery,

You won't see Molson Coors CEO Leo Kiely getting behind Amendment 47, though.

He's too busy trying to figure out where to locate the proposed new MillerCoors joint venture . . . other than Colorado.

Amendment 47 is bad for Colorado workers and bad for Colorado business. We shouldn't let ideologues like Coors destroy our economy by outsourcing work to Asia while they undermine the business climate at home in Colorado.

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