Colorado Partnership For Quality Jobs And Services Act
The act creates the "Colorado Partnership for Quality Jobs and Services Act" to facilitate the creation of formal labor-management partnership agreements between state employees in the state personnel system and the executive branch of state government. The act specifies that certain employees in the state personnel system, due to the nature and responsibilities of their jobs, are not able to participate in partnership agreements. State employees who are allowed to participate in partnership agreements are designated covered employees.
The act specifies that there is one partnership unit in the state that consists of all covered employees. Any partnership units established pursuant to the existing Colorado executive order that authorizes partnership agreements (executive order) will be merged into the single partnership unit created in the act. Covered employees in a partnership unit that was created by the executive order and that are represented by an employee organization that the partnership unit chose to exclusively represent it (certified employee organization) will continue to be represented by the existing certified employee organization.
An employee organization that wants to represent an unrepresented partnership unit may file a petition with the division of labor standards and statistics (division) in the department of labor and employment requesting that it hold an election to determine whether covered employees want to be represented by an employee organization (representation election). An employee organization requesting a representation election is required to submit a petition to the division signed by at least 30% of the covered employees in the partnership unit. The division is required to certify, as the certified employee organization, the employee organization that receives the majority of votes cast by the covered employees. The act specifies circumstances under which the division is not allowed to hold a representation election. The act also specifies that a covered employee or an employee organization may initiate a process to decertify a certified employee organization for a partnership unit.
A covered employee has the right to work with an employee organization and communicate with other covered employees to form a partnership agreement or to discuss other work-related issues. A covered employee has the right to refrain from any activities in connection with employee organizations and the partnership process. A covered employee may also opt not to have the state provide certain personal information to a certified employee organization. Certified employee organizations have the right to reasonable access to covered employees at work, through e-mail, and through other forms of communication.
A certified employee organization is required to represent the interests of all covered employees, regardless of membership in the employee organization, in the negotiation of a partnership agreement. A certified employee organization is not required to represent covered employees in certain personnel actions. In addition, a certified employee organization is prohibited from threatening, facilitating, supporting, or causing a strike, work stoppage, work slowdown, group sickout, or any other action that would disrupt the daily functioning of the state or any of its agencies or departments. An employee who engages in such activities may be subject to disciplinary action.
The act specifies that nothing contained in the employee partnership process impairs the ability of the state to determine, carry out, and administer specified existing duties and rights of the state.
The act specifies that the state is required to:
- Make payroll deductions for membership dues and other payments that covered employees authorize to be made to the certified employee organization;
- Provide specified information about every covered employee to a certified employee organization on a monthly basis;
- Allow a certified employee organization to meet with a newly hired covered employee;
- Allow a certified employee organization to attend orientations for new covered employees;
- After the state and the certified employee organization reach a partnership agreement, submit a request to the general assembly for sufficient appropriations to implement terms of the partnership agreement requiring the expenditure of money; and
- Engage in good faith in all aspects of the partnership process.
The act specifies that not engaging in such duties constitutes an unfair labor practice that can be subject to review by the division.
A certified employee organization and the state are required to discuss and cooperatively draft mutually agreed upon written partnership agreements, which are binding on the state, the certified employee organization, and covered employees. The parties are required to bargain over wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment. All other subjects are permissive and may be addressed by mutual agreement. A partnership agreement is required to provide a grievance procedure to resolve disputes over the interpretation, application, and enforcement of any provision of the partnership agreement. Meetings held to negotiate a partnership agreement and grievance and arbitration proceedings are not open meetings as defined in law. In addition, records prepared or exchanged prior to submission of a final partnership agreement are not subject to the "Colorado Open Records Act".
If disputes arise during the formation of a partnership agreement, the certified employee organization and the state are required to engage in the dispute resolution process established by the act or in a mutually agreed upon alternate procedure. The act specifies how mediators will be selected. If the parties do not reach an agreement on outstanding issues within 30 days of commencing mediation, the mediator is required to issue a recommendation on all of the outstanding issues. Either party may make the mediator's recommendation public. Any controversy concerning unfair labor practices of the state or a certified employee organization may be submitted to the division for review. The state or the certified employee organization may seek judicial review of decisions or orders on representation or decertification petitions, unfair labor practice charges, rules or regulations issued by the division, or an arbitrator's decision.
The act makes the following changes to the state personnel system:
- Eliminates the account dedicated to each department in the state employee reserve fund and requires that the money in the fund be used to provide merit pay to employees in a manner consistent with current law;
- Repeals the limit on the number of senior executive service employees in the state; and
- When considering a disciplinary action against an employee in the state personnel system for engaging in or threatening violent behavior against another person while on duty, requires the appointing authority to give predominant weight to the safety of the other person over the interests of the employee. If the appointing authority finds that the employee has engaged in or threatened violent behavior, the appointing authority is authorized to take disciplinary action as deemed appropriate by the appointing authority.
The act creates the COVID heroes collaboration fund in the state treasury and requires the state treasurer to transfer $7 million from the state employee reserve fund to the COVID heroes collaboration fund on the effective date of the act. Subject to annual appropriation by the general assembly, applicable state agencies may expend money from the COVID heroes collaboration fund for the purposes of the "Colorado Partnership for Quality Jobs and Services Act".
In addition, the act modifies the "Colorado Open Records Act" to specify that records created in compliance with the requirements of a partnership agreement and documents created in connection with the dispute resolution process for a partnership agreement are not public records.
The act also makes appropriations to the governor's office and various executive branch agencies for the 2020-21 state fiscal year for the implementation of the act.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)