Majority Leader Esgar’s bill would expand collective bargaining rights to 36,000 public service workers and builds upon the 2020 state workers bill
DENVER, CO – The House today passed Majority Leader Daneya Esgar’s monumental collective bargaining bill by a vote of 41 to 24. SB22-230 would expand collective bargaining rights to an estimated 36,000 county workers, more than doubling the number of public workers in Colorado entitled to negotiate for better pay, benefits and working conditions.
SB22-230 ensures that county workers would receive recognized collective bargaining rights that private-sector and state employees in Colorado already have.
“We’re one step closer to securing collective bargaining rights for the tens of thousands of county workers who carried Colorado through the pandemic,” said Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “County workers staff our public health departments, maintain our roads and keep our communities safe and soon they’ll have the right to join together to improve their workplace conditions and negotiate for better pay and benefits. Our bill ensures that county workers can unionize if they so choose and have a seat at the table to discuss decisions that directly affect their livelihood.”
SB22-230 builds upon the state workers bill from 2020, also sponsored by Majority Leader Esgar. This bill extends collective bargaining rights to county workers, more than doubling the current number of public workers with recognized collective bargaining rights in Colorado. The Collective Bargaining by County Employees Act would give public service workers who choose to form a union a seat at the table to collectively bargain on issues like working conditions, job safety, pay and benefits, and to collaborate with management to address shared challenges like staff shortages, high turnover, and improving public services. This bill is a historic step forward in Colorado’s labor and workers’ rights movement.
Right now, only four out of Colorado’s 64 counties recognize their workers’ right to collectively bargain. The Collective Bargaining by County Employees Act would guarantee collective bargaining rights to an estimated 98% of eligible statutory county workers in Colorado. Under this bill, county workers in counties with over 7,500 residents have the ability to organize and form a recognized union to advocate for safer workplaces and better public services.
Additionally, the Collective Bargaining by County Employees Act would extend protections to workers who are currently vulnerable to retaliation, discrimination, and coercion for exercising basic union rights.