Big corporate CEOs are raking in record profits and working Americans are bearing the brunt of rising costs. Working Coloradans can’t afford to be fooled by a candidate who claims to fight for them.

Dennis Dougherty

Republican Senate nomineee Joe O’Dea will try to use working Coloradans to push him to victory, but working Coloradans will see past this dishonest attempt because of O’Dea’s troubling record of hurting workers, his anti-union position, and the simple fact that his campaign is not powered by working people.

Joe O’Dea repeatedly claims that he’s a “working Coloradan running to be a champion for working Americans.” He’s even run an ad where he claims he’ll fight for working people because he is one. It’s time to put these claims to the test.

That’s why AFL-CIO, SEIU Local 105 and LiUNA Local 720 came together in June in front of O’Dea’s business to shine a light on his real record of hurting employees and his opposition to unions which empower working Coloradans to obtain living wage and benefits.

For more than a decade, Concrete Express has repeatedly violated safety regulations, putting the lives of workers in danger, and has been fined more than $135,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. On top of risking workers’ safety, the business was also fined for failing to pay overtime and underpaying employees.

This is not by accident. Across the country, high CEO-to-worker pay ratios are running rampant and as a result workers are earning less while CEOs add even more to their seven figure salaries. 

Instead of taking the fines seriously and working to improve the lives of workers, O’Dea chose to slam OSHA and praise Donald Trump for the cuts he made to the agency that was holding him accountable for his bad business practices.

Beyond the violations, O’Dea settled a lawsuit with a former employee who alleged his business was discriminating against workers based on age and disability. In the lawsuit, the former employee also alleged that O’Dea and his CFO said the company “need(ed) to get rid of these old sick people so our medical insurance won’t be so high.” Despite the settlement, O’Dea continues to deny the allegations.

This all happened under “the boss’s” watch – even though he campaigns on defending workers.

Workers’ unions built the middle class and they continue to fight for better wages, benefits, and hours so that working families can get ahead. However, O’Dea has said repeatedly that he’s “not a big union guy” and claims “unions have outlived their usefulness.” If you don’t support unions, then you don’t support working Americans.

O’Dea may say he’s running to defend working people, but working people are not supporting O’Dea’s campaign. A quick inspection of his donor make-up should raise a red flag for working families.

According to the last fundraising report, O’Dea’s campaign is powered in large part by himself and his Super PAC is made up of executives from the fossil fuel and construction industry. Meanwhile, small-dollar contributions only make up 4% of all of the campaign’s fundraising.

Joe “The Boss” O’Dea’s actions would make any working Coloradan question whether he’s truly on their side. Before taking O’Dea at his word, take a look at what he’s actually done for working people – Coloradans will quickly learn that O’Dea is a dishonest candidate who won’t improve the lives of working Coloradans.


Dennis Dougherty, of Denver, is the Executive Director of the Colorado AFL-CIO.


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Dennis Dougherty

Special to The Colorado Sun