PROMO Government - Colorado Capitol Building Denver - iStock - kuosumo

Polis signs collective bargaining bill for county workers

© Colorado Capitol Building Denver - iStock - kuosumo
Derek Draplin | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill into law Friday that allows county workers across the state to collectively bargain.

Senate Bill 22-230 was introduced by Democrats in April and given final passage on May 11, the last day of the 2022 legislative session.

Polis’ office said in a news release that the new law ensures county workers “have a voice in their working conditions.”

House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, said in a statement that the law “allows county workers to unionize if they choose to so that they can have a seat at the table to discuss decisions that not only impact their livelihood but the safety of the communities they serve.”

Earlier this month, dozens of county officials drafted a letter urging the governor to veto the bill.

The new law will apply to an estimated 36,000 county workers, but county officials warn it amounts to an “unfunded mandate” that could end up costing taxpayers millions.

El Paso and Weld counties estimated the proposal could cost the counties at least $25 million and $30 million a year, respectively. 

Teller County Commissioner Erik Stone, who signed onto the letter to the governor, said Friday that the legislation is “nothing more than a great election year gift for unions to get access to taxpayer funds through our employees’ paychecks.”

“Forced collective bargaining takes the decision away from local government and local citizens while simultaneously creating the largest unfunded mandate in the history of the state of Colorado,” he said.