AFL-CIO tries to gobble up Douglas County, CO School District

Castle Rock, CO

In the 1930’s, labor unions got legitimacy.  Under the Roosevelt administration, labor unions got protection and the ability to organize industrial laborers.  The Unions then represented workers who made things.  The United Auto Workers, Mineworkers, Steelworkers, etc.   It was good to be a Union boss.

Now we are in the 21st century and so many U.S. manufacturing jobs have disappeared.  Unions have seen their membership shrink as the reason for their existence has withered on the vine.  Union bosses have a good rich life, paid for by the dues of their workers.  So the bosses made the decision to go outside the industrial world that had justified their existence.  One area of greatest union  growth in today’s world is the government worker.

The AFL-CIO is America’ largest union.  Among its components are the following:

AFGE – with 600,000 federal employees.
AFSCME – with 1.6 million nurses, child care providers, EMT’s and sanitation workers.
SEIU– Service Employees International Union with 1.8 million employees in health care, public services and janitors.  The SEIU is in hot water for being in bed with ACORN.
AFT – American Federation of Teachers – with 850,000 teachers, school related personnel, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Because the AFL-CIO is under pressure to expand their worker base and because so many of the new growth areas are government and health care workers, it is no wonder that all of the AFL-CIO entities are strongly in favor of a Single Payer Government Health Care system, Card Check and Obama.  This results in some rather startling positions for a labor union to take.

The American Federation of Teachers strongly supports Government health care.
The American Federation of Teachers strongly supports the Employee Free Choice Act also know as Card Check.
The American Federation of Teachers board unanimously endorsed Barack Obama for president well before he became his party’s nominee.

In our area, there has been a significant rise in the number of charter schools within the Douglas County, Colorado School District.  The teachers and employees at these charter schools do not belong to a union.  They don’t pay union dues.  Charter schools do not have any limitations imposed upon them by union contracts.   The AFL-CIO wants a piece of this action and so far they are shut out.  If the charters are unionized, there would be little difference between them and the unionized public schools.

The AFL-CIO game plan is surprisingly simple.  The Douglas County School board has 7 districts with elected school board members.  Four of the districts seats are up election this year.  The AFL-CIO through its AFT section, has handpicked a candidate for each of the four districts.  To be endorsed by the AFL-CIO, the handpicked candidates presumably had to fill out a union questionnaire and be interviewed.  They would voice the right beliefs and make the right promises to get endorse.
The four candidates that met the approval of the AFL-CIO are:

Sue Catterall, a democrat running in District B.
Kevin Leung, running in District D
Kristine Turner, running in District E
Emily Hansen, a democrat running in District G

A union sweep in the upcoming election will likely open the doors to unionizing the Charter Schools.

The Republican Party has taken notice of this union power play.  They have endorsed four candidates themselves.  The four candidates that met the approval of the Douglas County Republicans are:

John Carson, running in District B vs. Catterall
Daniel Gerken, running in District D vs. Leung
Doug Benevento, running in District E vs. Turner
Meghann Silverthorne, running in District G vs. Hansen

For a Douglas County Voter, the choices are stark in light of the union’s power play.

If you like Government Health Care, unionized Charter Schools and Barack Obama, go with the union picked candidates.

If you don’t want Government Health Care, unionized Charters or the direction the country is heading, go with the Republican endorsed candidates.

All of the candidates above, live in Douglas County.  All are well educated.  The two groups differ philosophically and fundamentally in their world view of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

On October 5th, one of the last school board candidate forums was held in Castle Rock.   Both sides had rehearsed their talking points.  In summary, the union backed candidates want to pass bonds and raise taxes to pay the union teachers and school workers. The union candidates approved the board’s decision to cut off bus service to certain kids and parents of the district.

The Republican backed candidates want to pay attention to and represent the taxpayers of Douglas County.  After all, only 38% of property tax payers have kids in the DC Schools.   These candidates strongly disapproved of the school bus cuts, since busses represent only ½ % of the school district budget.  They look at bond or tax hikes with skepticism.

The union backed candidates care about the teachers and other union members.  The Republican backed candidates care about the parents, homeowners and kids.

Since this is a county wide election, voters will get the chance to vote for all 4 seats.  The campaign signs you see are mostly for the union backed candidates and are likely paid for by the AFL-CIO.  It is a mail-in election and the ballots will appear in your mailbox shortly.

Mike Robinson is Senior Partner at Robinson & Henry P.C., a Castle Rock Law Firm.