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February 25, 2021


Legislation would strip workers of their rights to collectively bargain for better wages and safe conditions

DENVER, CO– Democrats on the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee today defeated union-busting legislation sponsored by Republican Representatives Tonya Van Beber and Kim Ransom. The legislation would have made it nearly impossible for workers in Colorado to collectively bargain for better conditions and wages.

“There couldn’t be a worse time to pass the anti-union legislation that Republicans brought forward today,” said Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, a strong union supporter and sponsor of the Colorado WINS legislation. “We’re here to help Colorado Build Back Stronger. These policies, which are being pushed by thriving corporations and a minority party that doesn’t care about working people, would make it nearly impossible for Coloradans to bargain for better wages and safer conditions. We’re eager to work with the minority on proposals to stimulate our economy and strengthen our workforce, but we won’t let them tear down a fundamental path to success for hardworking people.”

“Make no mistake, this bill would hurt workers when they are some of the Coloradans already hurting the most right now,” said Business Affairs and Labor Committee Vice Chair Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, a member of the AFL-CIO Colorado Board of Directors and a union member. “Can you imagine if the workers at the meatpacking plant didn’t have a union to fight for them? During the pandemic we’ve seen more and more workers rally behind forming a union to protect themselves and their families. Unions create good paying jobs, grow our economy, and have been essential partners in keeping our economy open while keeping workers and consumers safe during this pandemic. Today, Democrats stood up for workers in the face of powerful corporate interests that will do anything to avoid paying an acceptable wage or provide safe conditions.”

HB21-1049 would prohibit unions from recovering any costs for mandatory representation of non-union members in collective bargaining procedures. It would deal a death blow to unions and make it nearly impossible for them to negotiate for better wages, benefits and safer working conditions for workers. The average worker in a “Right to Work” state makes 16.6 percent less than in non-right to work states. Right to work states have higher poverty rates, higher uninsured rates, and significantly larger wage gaps between men and women.

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