Colorado Partnership for Quality Jobs & Services Act would allow state employees to join together to bargain for better pay and terms of employment
DENVER, CO — The Colorado House today gave preliminary approval to the Colorado Partnership for Quality Jobs and Services Act. HB20-1153, sponsored by Representative Daneya Esgar and cosponsored by the entire House Democratic Caucus, would allow state employees to collectively bargain on matters of pay, benefits, and terms of employment.
“This bill would enshrine in our laws the Colorado value of empowering workers to fight for a better life for themselves, their families and their communities,” said Rep. Esgar, D-Pueblo, the prime sponsor of HB20-1153. “Across Colorado, our dedicated state employees serve our veterans, keep our prisons safe, plow our roads in winter storms and protect our air and water, but their pay and benefits haven’t kept pace. It’s time to rewrite the rules so that our state workers can innovate on the job to improve state services and negotiate for fair wages and working conditions.”
The legislation would allow state employees to collectively bargain on pay and benefit issues. It would foster new partnerships between frontline workers and the state that will lead to innovation and better state services. Furthermore, by helping to fill the nearly 1 in 5 vacant state positions, the bill will ensure that Colorado has the experienced and talented workforce needed to serve state residents. This legislation is critical to retaining and recruiting the state workforce Coloradans need and deserve. Stagnant wages have led to increased turnover and state employees working multiple jobs, which negatively impacts the delivery of state services.
The bill would not permit state employees to strike, which is similar to collective bargaining laws for state employees in the states that have them. Under the bill, the state is required to participate in good faith in the formalized partnership process. All determinations regarding wage and benefit issues reached through the partnership process must be included in the governor’s budget and be approved by the Joint Budget Committee and General Assembly, a transparent process in which the public can engage.
Membership in the union would be completely voluntary, but it’s clear that state employees overwhelmingly support union membership in WINS. For more than a decade, WINS has represented state employees who have been united in their desire to be part of an organization that fights to improve their lives.