For seven years, corporate lobbyists at the Colorado State Capitol have opposed paid family and medical leave legislation. They’ll tell you “not now,” but they really mean “never.”
During a global pandemic, corporate lobbyists and executives are putting personal profits ahead of the health of Coloradans. If you get sick, you’ll need to choose between your job and paying your bills.
Here are some of the people spending big bucks to stop Proposition 118:
Colorado Chamber of Commerce
Former Republican Colorado House Speaker Chuck Berry (not that Chuck Berry, of course) never met a tax break for the wealthy he didn’t like or a working family he couldn’t short change. Under Berry, the Colorado Chamber just gave $50,000 to the campaign against paid family leave in Colorado.
The Colorado Concern, headed by failed Republican candidate for governor Mike Kopp, describes itself as a "statewide CEO-based organization" set up for "investing in and promoting a pro-business environment through the political process." Colorado Concern just “invested” $50,000 to oppose paid family leave for the 80% of Coloradans who don't have it.
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
The Denver Chamber was the first contributor against Proposition 118. They were the primary opponent in the state legislature and actively worked to defeat paid family leave for at least seven years. The Denver Chamber and its affiliates have already spent nearly $600,000 in lobbying to stop workers from getting access to paid leave. When Proposition 118 was introduced, the Denver Chamber sued to prevent voters from even considering this ballot question. Now, amid a public health crisis, the Chamber is directing their resources away from helping Colorado workers to instead fight a policy that would help Colorado workers.
Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association
Colorado hotels were forced to lay off and furlough thousands of employees over the last six months, and the employees who stayed on the job faced significant risks to keep serving the public during a pandemic. But despite these companies' huge losses, the Hotel and Lodging Association has enough money to fight against a ballot initiative that would help their own employees.
Davia is the registered agent for the No on 118 campaign, the de facto face of the war against paid family leave. As the principal figure in two construction industry associations, Davia fought against education funding and other measures before the campaign against Proposition 118. He's described as "the consummate lobbyist for the construction industry," another business with workers who need paid family leave.
Earl Wright is a "wealth manager" who owns AMG bank in Greenwood Village. Active in right-wing politics, Wright runs the Common Sense Insititute, a "stinktank" that produces fact-challenged reports cited by conservative politicians. Wright's group just put out a false "study" on Proposition 118 predicting the sky will fall on Colorado when paid family leave passes. These are the same people who predicted that when Colorado raised its minimum wage in 2016 that our state would lose 90,000 jobs.
Shaun Egan is the founder of Iron Woman Construction, a construction company with annual revenue approaching $100 million. Egan employs hundreds of workers in Colorado who, like every working family in Colorado, need paid family leave.
Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce
The Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce is another politically activist local chamber of commerce which has long opposed paid family leave in the Colorado legislature at behest of special interests. It's another case of employers spending money that could be used to help their workers fighting against their workers' best interests.
Colorado Construction Industry Coalition
Colorado's construction workers are not immune from the challenges faced by every working family in our state, but the construction industry's political arm is spending tens of thousands of dollars in the fight against paid family leave for their own employees. Why shouldn't construction workers be able to care for themselves and their families?
Colorado Farm Bureau
Over the past decade, the Colorado Farm Bureau has damaged the once-sterling reputation of the organization by supporting extreme ballot measures like 2018's Amendment 74, which would have upended land use authority across the state to enrich big business. Opposing paid family leave is just the latest example of the Farm Bureau working against the best interests of Colorado.
Associated General Contractors of Colorado
Associated General Contractors of Colorado is another big-business political action group whose mission is to keep labor costs low no matter what that means for working families. AGC represents businesses that employ thousands of Coloradans, the majority of whom have no access to paid family leave.
Colorado Springs Chamber
Representing businesses in the Colorado Springs area, the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce put up $20,000 to oppose paid family leave for their own workers.
They’re putting their own profits over the interests of Colorado families. Paid family and medical leave means less profit for corporate lobbyists and executives.