Editorial writers at the Denver Post just can’t get it; they don’t understand the concept of collective bargaining.
We have tried to explain it to them two or three times in the past year, but they either can’t or won’t grasp the idea. For example:
On Sunday, Feb. 27, the Post, for the second time in about five weeks, urged Governor Hickenlooper to rescind an executive order issued by former Governor Bill Ritter. The executive order allows state workers to be represented by a union that can show it represents a sizable segment of workers in a department.
As we pointed out last month this representation isn’t accompanied by any collective bargaining right, which is a factor required for an employee-employer relationship to be a bona fide labor-management relationship. And, without the right to bargain collectively, a union cannot negotiate a legally binding agreement covering wages, hours and working conditions.
Ritter’s executive order doesn’t even give the unions “limited” bargaining rights. as the Post claims. It simply allows employees of certain departments to express a collective opinion on workplace issues if they wish to do so. Workers have no right to negotiate anything. They can however, make suggestions.
“Rescinding the order not only would send an important and decisive message to business leaders, and to labor, it could save Colorado from more financial trouble in the future,” says the Post in its editorial.
“While there’s no extra money in state coffers to argue over now,” the Post adds, “when the economy recovers, the state’s newly organized workforce eventually will ask for the cash.”
The Post believes that “echoes rumbling from Madison and elsewhere ought to goad Hickenlooper into rethinking his position.”
What is happening in Madison has absolutely no resemblance to what is happening in Colorado. In Colorado, state employees are not allowed to engage in collective bargaining.
Colorado unions can ask for the moon if they wish, but without real collective bargaining, the state is not required to negotiate for anything, including wages, hours, working conditions, which include work rules.
“We’ve argued before that Hickenlooper should rescind the order, but he shows no intention of doing so,” says the Post. “How is it possible the politically savvy governor has gone so tone deaf?”
That’s an easy one for the governor, who obviously is savvier than the Post editorialists.
Undoubtedly, he understands the scope of the executive order and realizes it does not constitute anything close to collective bargaining.
We’d advise the Post editorial writers to do their homework.