Weld County, El Paso County oppose collective bargaining mandate

Published on April 20, 2022

The Weld County Board of Commissioners.

The El Paso and Weld County Boards of County Commissioners are joining forces to oppose the collective bargaining mandate introduced today in the Colorado General Assembly. Conservative estimates show the proposal would cost El Paso and Weld counties approximately $25 million and $30 million, respectively—an amount so high that county governments across the state will be forced to severely cut citizen services. That’s why 38 Colorado Counties, the Colorado Association of School Boards, the Colorado Association of School Executives, the Colorado Municipal League, the Special District Association, and many others have expressed strong opposition to the idea.

“Citizens rightfully expect someone to answer 911 calls, plow roads during a snowstorm, and protect the young and the elderly from abuse,” said Stan VanderWerf, El Paso County Commissioners Board Chair. “That’s why our whole board agrees: injecting collective bargaining as another bureaucratic layer is as unnecessary as it is expensive. This proposal will force El Paso County to spend money it doesn’t have to administer a program it doesn’t need. And it will be at the expense of the citizens who rely on our services to keep them safe. We call on the legislature and Governor Polis to oppose this bill.”

“County commissioners are elected by our voters to properly manage their tax dollars,” said Weld County Commissioner Chair Scott James. “This bill defies the will of local voters and takes away county commissioners’ ability to do the job our residents elected us to do. The dual burden of reducing county services while increasing county budgets is a no-win scenario for residents under normal circumstances—but is a cruel irony that this bill is introduced during these times of rising inflation and global uncertainty.”

Both organizations have compiled detailed estimates showing the fiscal impact of the proposal. The El Paso County report outlining the budgetary impacts, as well as policy, legal, and TABOR issues with collective bargaining. Specifically, the report discusses the following impacts:

  • Cost = Loss of Services
  • Omission of a “No Strike” Provision
  • Citizen Obligation without Representation
  • TABOR Constitutional Questions
  • Department of Labor: All Power, No Accountability
  • Policy ≠ Moment

Furthermore, the report outlines the true cost of administering collective bargaining at the most basic levels: the potholes that can be filled, the roads that could be paved, or the deputies that could serve the public for the same costs.

A memo from Weld County outlining the fiscal impact to their county is included as well. 

El Paso County 2022 Collective Bargaining Report.

Fiscal impact of Collective Bargaining to Weld County.