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Colorado Gov. Vetoes Bill Limiting Mandatory Employee Meetings; Workers Rally in Support of Bill

Captive-audience meeting bill passes state senate and house, but Colorado Gov. Jared Polis vetoed the measure

By Todd R. Berger

6.10.24 Colorado State Capital; Colorado Gov. Jared Polis vetoed captive meeting bill
The Colorado state capitol building; Colorado Gov. Jared Polis vetoed a bill limiting mandatory employee meetings. || Photo by RebeccaDunnLevert, courtesy of Adobe

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis vetoed HB24-1260 on May 17, Prohibition of Employee Discipline (also known as the Worker Freedom Act), that would have prohibited employers from forcing workers to attend what are known as captive audience meetings. Specifically, the bill sought to exempt employees from discipline for not attending a company meeting where political or religious views are discussed.

“Gov. Polis’s decision to veto the Worker Freedom Act sends a deeply disappointing message to workers who have supported him and his agenda … that their priorities are not important at the state capitol,” says Dean Modecker, secretary-treasurer of Denver-based labor union Teamsters Local 455, in a prepared statement.

The bill would have guaranteed that employees could refuse to attend employer meetings about religious or political matters. The governor said after the veto that he would support a narrower bill with a “more manageable and neutral” definition of a captive audience meeting.

About 500 members of Teamsters Local 455 and the union’s allies rallied against the veto at the state capitol on May 24. In a prepared statement, Local 455 says, “By allowing workers to opt-out of such captive audience meetings, the act would protect workers from being intimidated or coerced to attend with threats of retaliation, discipline, or other consequences.”

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