9/16/08

Worker-choice measure to be killed at all costs

More worker-choice stories: hereunion-dues stories: here

UFCW masks flood of out-of-state cash for Colorado politics

A local labor union gave more than $3 million this month to the campaign fighting a "right-to-work" ballot measure. On the other hand, a group fighting a measure that would eliminate a tax credit for energy companies received no contributions in September.

Campaign reports filed with the state Monday show that United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7R donated $3.2 million during the first two weeks of September to Coloradans for Middle Class Relief, one of the groups against Amendment 47. That brings the union's donations to the committee to $4.7 million so far this year.

The right-to-work amendment would ban mandatory union dues for workers covered by union contracts.

Jess Knox, campaign director for another group fighting Amendment 47, said he expected the big dollars to continue to flow into his committee, Protect Colorado's Future.

The group is also fighting pro- business measures 49 and 54. "We expect to raise $15 million to $20 million to defeat these," he said.

Amendment 54 prohibits companies that are the sole contractors to state and local governments from making campaign contributions.

Amendment 49 would prohibit public payroll deductions for anything except taxes, health insurance and charitable contributions, in effect wiping out such things as automatically deducted union dues on public payrolls.

The campaigns for and against the 18 statewide ballot measures already have raised more than $30 million. That's more than double the previous record $14 million for state measures set in 2004. In other campaign filings involving statewide ballot issues:

* Coloradans for a Stable Economy, which is fighting Amendment 58, reported receiving no contributions this month. Instead, it lists $98,844 in expenditures with much of the money going toward outreach consulting. However, the same group received a whopping $3.3 million in the last reporting period, mostly from energy companies.

* A group that supports Amendment 58, A Smarter Colorado, received a little over $400,000 of contributions this month, with $250,000 coming from one individual, Paul Tudor Jones.

* Expenses for the same period nearly wiped out the gains, totalling nearly $350,000, with $300,000 spent on media.

* Colorado Safe, the group behind a ballot measure to set aside state surplus money for education, raised more than $500,000 in the last two weeks.

* The teachers union, the National Education Association, donated $250,000, while the Denver Foundation gave the group $225,000. That brings the committee's donations to $1.3 million. The group has $374,000 on hand.

* Protect Families, Protect Choices Coalition raised $92,500 in its battle against Amendment 48, the measure to declare human life begins at fertilization. Almost all the money, $90,000, came from the ACLU of Colorado.

(rockymountainnews.com)

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