April 26, 2022

INTRODUCED! LANDMARK BILL TO EXPAND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS TO OVER 37,000 PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS

Building upon the 2020 state workers bill, SB22-230 would more than double the number of public workers with recognized collective bargaining rights


DENVER, CO – Senate President Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, and House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, today introduced landmark legislation to support workers by extending collective bargaining rights to more than 37,000 county public service employees, marking a historic step in Colorado’s labor and workers rights movement.

SB22-230 builds upon the state workers bill from 2020 to extend similar collective bargaining rights to county workers. 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, retention issues, and improving public services.

“County workers kept Colorado running through some extremely difficult years of pandemic disruptions and health and safety hazards,” said Fenberg. “These tens of thousands of unsung heroes have more than earned what nearly every private sector and state worker already enjoy — the right to organize and negotiate for fair and safe workplaces. It’s time for county public service workers to be given the choice to form a union.”

“County workers have been on the frontlines during the pandemic and often work dangerous jobs to protect our communities and deliver the services Coloradans rely on,” Esgar said. “We depend on these tens of thousands of workers, and now is the time to have their backs. This bill will give county public service workers the right to form a union to negotiate for fair and safe workplaces and to improve the delivery and efficiency of critical services. County workers who fix our roads, staff our public health departments and protect our communities deserve the right to negotiate for a better future for themselves and their families.”

“Across Colorado, tens of thousands of county workers perform hazardous jobs and provide the critical services that keep communities running safely and smoothly,” said Moreno. “These public servants deserve to have a seat at the table to negotiate their employment, just like private sector and state employees currently do. By granting Colorado’s 37,000 county workers the right to choose to form a union, this bill will help Colorado take the next step on the path to ensuring collective bargaining rights for every Coloradan.”

Right now, only four out of Colorado’s 64 counties recognize public service workers’ right to collectively bargain. The Collective Bargaining by County Employees Act would guarantee Colorado statutory county workers have 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.