‘No Choice But to Cut Services and Jobs’

A measure rubber-stamped by Big Labor Denver legislators and signed by Gov. Jared Polis will strip county elected governments of the authority to decide on their own how public servants should be compensated and managed. (Credit: David_Shankbone/ wikipedia.org)

New Colorado Monopoly-Bargaining Law Will Cost Taxpayers Dearly

Ignoring pleas from hundreds of local elected officials from across the Centennial State and thousands of ordinary citizens mobilized by the National Right to Work Committee, on May 27, Big Labor Democrat Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed S.B.230 into law.

This special-interest scheme enshrines union officials’ prerogative to speak for county public employees who don’t want a union, as well as those who do, on matters concerning pay, benefits, and work rules. And besides trampling public servants’ freedom to make personal decisions affecting their jobs, S.B.230 will impose vast new burdens on taxpayers.

Added annual costs for counties with populations of 150,000 or more are expected to run into seven figures.

On May 13, right after the union-label majorities in the Colorado state House and Senate sent S.B.230 to Mr. Polis’s desk, National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix electronically sent him a letter urging him to stand up for independent-minded county employees and taxpayers by vetoing it.

Mr. Mix noted that, besides statutorily prohibiting over 36,000 public servants from dealing directly with their employer regarding issues that affect their jobs, S.B.230 would violate their privacy.

Specifically, it would “grant union bosses access to the phone numbers, home and work addresses, email addresses, and job titles of every public employee in the state,” warned Mr. Mix.

Now that S.B.230 has been signed into law, union operatives will surely use this private contact information to harass and intimidate those who refrain from joining a union.

‘This Represents a Massive Usurping of Local Authority And Local Control’

Along with Right to Work activists, hundreds of local officials representing dozens of Colorado counties sounded the alarm about the dangers of S.B.230.

Even before this power grab reached the governor’s desk, more than 250 commissioners and other elected officials had signed an open letter to Mr. Polis emphatically opposing the monopoly-bargaining mandate:

“This represents a massive usurping of local authority and local control from the government which is closest to the people: counties. It is a testament to poor legislative process — a massive unfunded mandate at the end of a legislative session.”

Later in May, a statewide coalition of over 170 county-elected officeholders sent another letter pleading with Mr. Polis to veto S.B.230. 

It would, they declared, create “huge problems for counties,” leaving them with “no choice but to cut services and jobs to pay for the cost” of mandatory monopoly bargaining.

While the administrative costs imposed on counties by S.B.230 will be substantial, the compensation costs imposed as government union bosses wield their monopoly-bargaining privileges to push for non-merit-based pay hikes and inefficient benefit plans will undoubtedly be far greater.

After Hemming and Hawing, Mr. Polis Opted to Thumb His Nose at Ordinary Citizens 

In fact, Teller County Commissioner Erik Stone estimates S.B.230 will cost his small (pop. roughly 25,000) jurisdiction $2 to $3 million a year to implement, or roughly 8% of its entire budget. Meanwhile, substantially larger (pop. roughly 730,000) El Paso County estimates this scheme will cost it at least $25 million a year.

“The overwhelming opposition from county governments as well as the persistent lobbying of rank-and-file citizens turned S.B.230 into a much tougher fight than the union political machine expected it to be,” said Mr. Mix.

“But once this bill got to Gov. Polis’s desk in early May, government union bosses expressed no doubt he would sign it promptly.

“They had ample reason to be confident.

“After all, in early 2020, the governor unabashedly announced he would sign legislation handing union bosses monopoly-bargaining power over civil servants employed by the state government as soon as he was given a chance.

“That summer, he gave the nod to the anti-individual worker, anti-taxpayer H.B.1153.

“This year was different. 

“Clearly sensing that his political future could be jeopardized if he gave union bosses everything they wanted, Mr. Polis declined to support draft legislation that would have foisted union monopoly bargaining on teachers and higher education employees as well as county employees.

“He even hemmed and hawed a bit before acquiescing to a Big Labor takeover of county workforces. But in the end, Mr. Polis opted to thumb his nose at ordinary citizens.” 

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