May 7, 2022

ESGAR’S MONUMENTAL COLLECTIVE BARGAINING EXPANSION BILL MOVES FORWARD

Legislation would expand collective bargaining rights to more than 36,000 public service workers and builds upon the 2020 state workers bill


DENVER, CO – The House today on a preliminary vote passed Majority Leader Daneya Esgar’s monumental collective bargaining bill. SB22-230 would expand collective bargaining rights to more than 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.

“This bill stands up for the thousands of county workers who carried us through the pandemic by providing critical services that kept our communities safe,” said Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “Extending collective bargaining rights to nearly 40,000 public service workers across the state means hardworking Coloradans will have the right to join together to improve their workplace conditions, negotiate for better benefits and have the choice to form a union. This bill is about making sure the workers who serve the public have a seat at the table to discuss decisions that directly impact their lives and the lives of their families.”

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 Colorado statutory county workers in counties with over 5,000 residents the ability to organize and form a union to advocate for safer workplaces and better public services if they so choose.

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.