Qwest, execs try to ease ballot battle
The talks aim to remove four union measures in return for help
fighting Amendment 47.
By Andy Vuong
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Denver-based Qwest and Colorado Concern, an alliance of top
business executives, are trying to quell a battle between
business and organized labor over competing November ballot
"We're engaged with a variety of parties to best resolve these
important, complicated issues," Qwest spokeswoman Jennifer
Barton said Wednesday.
At issue are four labor-backed ballot measures that business
interests say could drive companies from
and devastate the state's economy.
The proposals are considered countermeasures to the business-led
Amendment 47, an initiative aimed at making
a right-to-work state where workers could not be forced to pay
union representation fees as a condition of employment.
Business, union and political leaders met Tuesday night to
discuss a proposal in which labor would withdraw its measures in
exchange for financial support to fight the right-to-work
Colorado Concern chairman Walter Isenberg has been actively
involved in the negotiations, according to a source familiar
with the situation.
While Isenberg wasn't at Tuesday's meeting, Dan Ritchie, who
serves on the executive committee of Colorado Concern, was in
attendance, the source said.
Through an assistant, Ritchie referred calls Wednesday to
Isenberg, president of Sage Hospitality Resources, a
hotel-management and development company.
Isenberg didn't return calls seeking comment.
"Since 1986, Colorado Concern has maintained a commitment to
promoting sustainable business growth and advancing the economic
well-being of Colorado," Isenberg
states on the group's website.
Among other things, the labor-backed measures seek to mandate
companies with 20 or more workers to provide health-care
coverage and limit a businesses' ability to fire workers except
for "just cause," such as incompetence or substandard
Others working on reaching a compromise include Democratic Gov.
Bill Ritter; U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo.; and Denver Metro
Chamber of Commerce president Joe Blake, who also serves on the
executive committee of Colorado Concern.
A deal wasn't reached in Wednesday's discussions.
Previous efforts by business and political leaders to pressure
Amendment 47 backers to pull the measure have failed.
Vuong: 303-954-1209 or