2021 Public Employee Collective Bargaining Bill

2021 Public Employee Collective Bargaining Bill
Unlike workers in the private sector, most public employees do not have collective bargaining rights.
Public workers in some subdivisions have worked to pass collective bargaining rights in their jurisdiction,
but this is a limited patchwork of laws throughout the state and a majority of jurisdictions have no
collective bargaining rights established at all.
This year, Colorado’s legislature has the opportunity to formally recognize the collective bargaining rights
of all local public employees throughout our state. All working people, no matter their industry, should
have the right to join a union and collectively bargain for improved services and better jobs.
The Public Employee Collective Bargaining bill would recognize the rights of public employees at the
county, city, municipality, school district, library district, special district, public colleges and universities,
local government, judicial, or political subdivision of local government to:
● Organize, form, join, or assist an employee organization (or refrain from doing so);
● Be recognized as a union and establish the union as exclusive representative;
● Be represented and negotiate collectively or express a grievance through their exclusive
The bill requires the public employer to:
● Remain neutral at all times if employees choose to form a union and shall not discriminate or
retaliate against any employee as they seek to organize a union;
● Allow the employee’s exclusive representative access to employees in the workplace for the
purposes of membership recruitment;
● Make payroll deductions to the exclusive representative as authorized by the employee;
● Provide the exclusive representative with the contact information on file for the covered
The bill requires the exclusive representative and employer to:
● Bargain collectively in good faith;
● To negotiate the collective bargaining agreement for a term of 12-36 months and must initiate
negotiations within a specified time frame;
● To seek arbitration if an impasse is reached.
The bill does not:
● Usurp the fiduciary authority of the elected officials;
● Automatically form a union. The workers must want to form a union and come together to
organize an employee organization.
Why now?
The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the critical nature of public employees who help Coloradans
access essential services. Having the freedom to collectively bargain will let frontline employees negotiate
for better safety gear, give teachers an avenue to advocate for their students, and ensure care providers
can have reliable, family-sustaining jobs. With increased need for public services, it is more important
than ever that our public employees be part of the solution to these growing challenges, so Colorado can
continue to be a thriving, safe, and prosperous state.