Colorado opens doors in teacher union negotiations


By Arthur Kane |

Teacher union negotiations will now be open to the media and public in Colorado after Proposition 104 garnered overwhelming support Tuesday night.

INTO THE LIGHT: Jon Caldara led the fight to make teacher union negotiations open to the public and media.

About 70 percent of voters approved the proposition, which puts the language to open labor union negotiations in state law unlike many voter initiatives that change the state Constitution.

The open-meetings measure was sponsored by the Independence Institute, a Denver-based, free-market think tank. Institute president Jon Caldara, who spent about $300,000, argued that taxpayers should know the details of labor union negotiations because most of the money schools spend are to pay teachers.

“Secrecy is the enemy of good government,” he told last week.

School boards and teacher unions opposed the initiative, arguing that several districts already make the negotiations public and local citizens should decide whether the negotiations are open.

“We support allowing local residents to decide what’s in the best interest of their communities,” said Mike Wetzel, spokesman for the Colorado Education Association last week.

The proposition flew under the radar because Caldara said he spent most of the money to get the measure on the ballot. The opposition group only raised about $60,000.