DENVER — The Senate advanced landmark legislation to support workers by extending collective bargaining rights to more than 37,000 county public service employees.

SB22-230 would give public service workers who choose to form a union a seat at the table to collectively bargain on issues such as working conditions, job safety, pay and benefits. It also allows unions to collaborate with management to address shared challenges including staff shortages, retention issues and improving public services. The bill builds on the state workers bill from 2020 to extend similar collective bargaining rights to county corkers.

The bill is sponsored by President Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, and Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City.

“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.”

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 the ability to organize and form a union to advocate for safer workplaces and better public services. Additionally, it would extend protections to workers who are currently vulnerable to retaliation, discrimination, and coercion for exercising basic union rights.

“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.”

SB22-230 now heads to the House for further consideration. Track the progress of the bill HERE.