Union Momentum

Union Momentum Continues: 36,000 Colorado public service workers gain a voice on the job

This victory marks the fourth time in four years that public service workers have won a major expansion of collective bargaining rights

Across the country, workers are asserting their power and driving a wave of organizing at all levels, from grassroots to government. Most recently, Colorado county employees successfully pushed for passage of legislation to expand their voice on the job. This follows on the heels of major expansions of public sector collective bargaining in California, Virginia and Nevada, impacting more than 100,000 workers. With a seat at the table, these public service workers are advocating for fair wages and benefits, safe working conditions and stronger public services for the communities they serve. Keep reading to learn more:

2022: 36,000 essential Colorado county workers granted expanded rights with collective bargaining: A few years ago, only two Colorado counties held the right to meaningful collective bargaining. In 2022, 36,000 county employees — the essential public service workers who keep Colorado's roads clear, water clean and care for its families — finally won a protected voice at work through landmark legislation passed by the state legislature. AFSCME members, along with our labor allies in the state, will continue fighting until every working person in Colorado has the fundamental right to collectively bargain with their employer.

2021: California child care providers ratify historic first contract for 40,000 workers across the state. Nearly 20 years of organizing culminated in July 2021, when members of Child Care Providers United (CCPU) voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first collective bargaining agreement. The historic agreement includes long-overdue pay raises for providers, investments in continuing education for a majority women-of-color workforce, critical investments to strengthen access to care for working parents and support for California’s COVID-19 pandemic recovery. With the ability to negotiate, providers can focus on improving early childhood care and supporting families.

2020: In Virginia, Arlington County and City of Alexandria workers successfully lobby to pass and protect the first collective bargaining ordinances in over 40 years. Previously, Virginia was one of only three states that banned all forms of public sector bargaining. Following passage of a state collective bargaining law in 2020, local government employees were granted the freedom to negotiate with their employers

2019: 20,000 Nevada state employees won the largest statewide expansion of collective bargaining rights in 16 years. With a seat at the table, AFSCME Local 4041 members began negotiations in 2020 over additional wage increases for four AFSCME-certified bargaining units. In 2021, AFSCME Local 4041 members ratified their first-ever contract, providing members with annual 3% wage increases, additional personal time off and defining other important job protections such as a grievance process.