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Why Unions Are Peeved at Governor Ritter’s Veto of Labor Legislation

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As Boulder-area teachers returned to work (via Boulder’s Daily Camera), looking to talk to over their pay dispute with administrators, Governor Bill Ritter vetoed a bill that could have given them the right to unemployment benefits had the school decided to lock them out. But it was grocery workers who have threatened to strike over benefits and compensation that blasted Ritter, a Democrat, for vetoing House Bill 1170, writes The Denver Post. Ritter, citing the recession, says despite his “great sympathies” for grocery workers, he thinks the bill could affect negotiations now taking place. State Representative Edward Casso, the Commerce City Democrat who sponsored the bill, retorted, “Gov. Ritter has aligned himself with the greedy corporations and shown his true colors.” King Soopers applauded the governor’s action, notes the Denver Business Journal. Meanwhile, the Pueblo Education Association noted teachers could also be locked out and denied benefits (via the Pueblo Chieftain). In 1996, the state paid more than $5 million to Safeway workers who were locked out after their bretheren at King Soopers went on strike–a move upheld by the state Supreme Court. In 1999, retailers lobbied to change the law, making it more difficult for workers who are locked out to collect benefits, reports The Associated Press.

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