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Governor betrays Colorado fire fighters

Firefighters gather to protest against Governor Ritter's veto of Colorado Senate Bill 180, which will prevent the state's firefighters from unionizing without approval at local government level
Firefighters protest against Governor Ritter's veto of Colorado Senate Bill 180
Colorado fire fighters frustrated by Ritter's veto

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter has vetoed a bill that would have allowed fire fighters to unionize without local government approval.

Senate Bill 180, which passed the state legislature in May, would have given fire fighters' unions with a minimum of 50 employees equal negotiating status with management in decisions on pay, benefits and working conditions - but not the right to strike. During his campaign, Ritter made it clear that he was behind the labor movement.

"America's workers are incredibly disappointed with Governor Ritter's veto of Colorado Senate Bill 180," says AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. "With an unconscionable stroke of his pen he is preventing Colorado's fire fighters from having a voice at work through collective bargaining.

"Every day, Colorado's fire fighters risk their lives to protect the public, but Governor Ritter has refused to stand up for them," says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. "Despite making campaign promises to support fire fighters, he has turned his back on the men and women who risk their lives for others. This veto is a rejection of the labor movement's core philosophy and robs fire fighters across the state of having a voice in their safety."

Fire fighters rallied to protest Governor Ritter's veto of the bill at the AFL-CIO's Colorado headquarters in downtown Denver. The Colorado Professional Fire Fighters issued a statement that Ritter's "promises to the men and women who risk their lives for others have turned out to be no more than empty words designed to deceive us and give fire fighters the illusion that they were voting for a man who truly cared about those in this dangerous profession."

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