Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday said he cannot support the current version of a bill that would make it easier to unionize firefighters in Colorado, an implicit veto threat to leaders of his own party in the Legislature.
In a letter to Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said he could not support in Senate Bill 25 in its current form, which would allow firefighters in even the smallest locales to unionize regardless of whether their voters or local governing boards had rejected the idea previously.
Gov. Bill Ritter, Hickenlooper's Democratic predecessor, vetoed a nearly identical bill in 2009, a move that cost him points with labor groups and his own party.
"As a former mayor, I respect the positive good that can result from collective bargaining," Hickenlooper said in the letter to Democratic leaders. "In Denver, we successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements with the firefighters' union. In those negotiations, we operated with the mutual understanding that we must take into consideration the shared interests of making responsible use of taxpayer funds, prioritizing the well-being and safety of the public and ensuring the safety of the firefighters themselves.
"We understand why some firefighters view organizing within a collective bargaining unit as a fair channel of meaningful communication with their employers."
Read the full story at The Denver Post's website.