The bill 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 bill 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.
Partnership units: The bill specifies that a partnership unit is a group of covered employees who have similar job classifications and who are in a unit for representation by a nonprofit organization that represents covered employees (employee organization). The bill creates partnership units composed of covered employees in specified occupational groups.
If a partnership unit was created pursuant to the existing Colorado executive order that authorizes partnership agreements (executive order) and the partnership unit has chosen an employee organization to exclusively represent it (certified employee organization), the partnership unit will continue to be represented by its existing certified employee organization.
Certified employee organizations: An employee organization that wants to represent an unrepresented partnership unit may file a petition with the department of labor and employment (department) requesting that it hold an election to allow covered employees in the partnership unit to elect an employee organization to represent it. The department is required to provide notice of the petition and other employee organizations may be included on the ballot in the election.
The department is required to conduct an election to determine which employee organization will be the certified employee organization of the partnership unit. The ballot must allow covered employees to vote not to be represented by an employee organization. If one employee organization receives a majority of the votes, the department is required to certify the employee organization as the certified employee organization of the partnership unit.
The bill specifies circumstances under which the department is not allowed to hold an election for a partnership unit to select a certified employee organization. The bill also specifies that a covered employee or an employee organization may initiate a process to decertify a certified employee organization for a partnership unit.
Rights of covered employees and certified employee organizations: The bill specifies that a covered employee may work with an employee organization and communicate with other covered employees to form a partnership agreement. Certified employee organizations have the right to reasonable access to areas where covered employees work to hold meetings, post notices, and provide information to covered employees.
Duties of the certified employee organization: The bill specifies that a certified employee organization is required to represent the interests of all covered employees in the partnership unit, regardless of membership in the employee organization. The bill also specifies the process by which a covered employee may initiate a grievance regarding the interpretation of a partnership agreement. In addition, the bill prohibits a certified employee organization from engaging in a strike, work stoppage, or group sickout against the state or any of its agencies or departments.
Duties of the state: The bill 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;
- Notify the certified employee organization when a covered employee is hired, promoted, or transferred to a new partnership unit;
- Periodically provide specified information about covered employees to each certified employee organization;
- 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.
Partnership agreements: A certified employee organization and the state are required to discuss and draft written partnership agreements, which are binding on the state, the certified employee organization, and covered employees. Partnership agreements that govern matters impacting all covered employees in all of the represented partnership units are required to be negotiated collaboratively with all certified employee organizations; except that a certified employee organization may opt out of joint negotiations for the partnership units it represents.
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. A partnership agreement is also required to continue in full force and effect until it is replaced by a subsequent partnership agreement.
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 bill.
Duties of the state personnel director: The state personnel director (director) is required to enforce certain aspects of the partnership agreement process. The director is authorized to conduct hearings to adjudicate disputes regarding the rights of covered employees and the rights and duties of certified employee organizations and the state under partnership agreements. The director is required to determine and impose appropriate administrative remedies to address violations of rights or duties pursuant to the "Colorado Partnership for Quality Jobs and Services Act".
Court review: The bill specifies the circumstances under which the director or a party to a partnership agreement may request court review of the final action of the director or an arbitrator's decision and specifies the standards under which the court may conduct such review. Court review may be requested as follows:
- The director may request that the court of appeals enforce orders issued by the director in connection with partnership agreements;
- Any person or party affected by a final rule, order, or decision of the director may appeal to the district court for further relief;
- A party to a partnership agreement may seek enforcement or vacation of an arbitrator's decision on a grievance concerning the interpretation, application, and enforcement of a partnership agreement in district court; and
- Either the state or a certified employee organization may challenge the final judgment of an arbitrator's judgment resolving a dispute in the formation of a partnership agreement in district court.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)