The "National Labor Relations Act" does not apply to federal, state, or local governments and the "Colorado Labor Peace Act" excludes governmental entities, with an exception for mass transportation systems, which means that these labor laws do not cover most public employees. The act grants certain public employees, including individuals employed by counties, municipalities, fire authorities, school districts, charter schools, public colleges and universities, library districts, special districts, public defender's offices, the university of Colorado hospital authority, the Denver health and hospital authority, the general assembly, and a board of cooperative services, the right to:
- Discuss or express views regarding public employee representation or workplace issues;
- Engage in protected, concerted activity for the purpose of mutual aid or protection;
- Fully participate in the political process while off duty and not in uniform, including speaking with members of the public employer's governing body on terms and conditions of employment and any matter of public concern and engaging in other political activities in the same manner as other citizens of Colorado without discrimination, intimidation, or retaliation; and
- Organize, form, join, or assist an employee organization or refrain from organizing, forming, joining, or assisting an employee organization.
However, a public employer that has a nonpartisan role may limit the right of an employee to fully participate in the political process while off duty and not in uniform to the extent necessary to maintain the nonpartisan role of the employer.
The act also prohibits certain public employers from discriminating against, coercing, intimidating, interfering with, or imposing reprisals against a public employee for engaging in any of the rights granted.
The division of labor standards within the Colorado department of labor and employment (division) is charged with enforcing any alleged violation of these rights and is granted rule-making authority. A party may appeal the department's final decision to the Colorado court of appeals. The act requires the court of appeals to give deference to the final decision of the department.
For the 2023-24 state fiscal year, $151,751 is appropriated to the department of labor and employment for use by the division and for the purchase of legal services as needed to implement the act.
APPROVED by Governor June 6, 2023
PORTIONS EFFECTIVE August 7, 2023
PORTIONS EFFECTIVE July 1, 2024
NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause and portions of it take effect 90 days after sine die.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)