Colorado Voters Require Open Meetings for Union Bargaining

Colorado Voters Require Open Meetings for Union Bargaining

Colorado Voters Require Open Meetings for Union Bargaining

Another bright spot from the 2014 election is the addition of Colorado to the list of states that prohibit government officials from meeting secretly with union officials to set operational rules and spending priorities.

Colorado voters approved Proposition 104, the School Board Open Meetings, by a 70 percent majority.

Union officials represent a private enterprise that collects dues to represent the interests of employees above all other interests in government priorities.

In some states, including Washington and Colorado, the law gives these officials a monopoly over representing groups of workers. Bargaining laws also force government to give this special interest an unprecedented power to impact decisions about accountability, service levels and the cost of government services.

A conflict of interest could occur when those union officials are also able to electioneer on behalf of those elected to boards, councils or the governor’s office that are responsible for collective bargaining.

Of the states that grant the privilege of government employee collective bargaining, 11 require some level of public observation of the negotiation process creating the union contract.

Colorado is now the 12th, but the new law addresses only school contract negotiations.

Last year, the Freedom Foundation worked with lawmakers who considered legislation to require the meetings between government and the union to be open to observation.

Senate Bill 6183, introduced by Sens. John Braun, Rodney Tom, Randi Becker, Jan Angel, Barbara Bailey, Tim Sheldon Sheldon, Michael Baumgartner, Jim Honeyford, Sharon Brown and Janea Holmquist Newbry stalled in the Senate last year. 

Union officials testified against it.

No private enterprise should have the ability to hijack government for its own special interest. The Freedom Foundation remains committed to working on government accountability and making sure that transparency can have its effect.

Colorado voters indicate that this is a very popular idea.


Here my discussion about this proposition with Ben DeGrow of Colorodo’s Independence Institute on Freedom Daily Radio here.

Senior Policy Analyst
Jami Lund is the Freedom Foundation’s Senior Policy Analyst. From 2004 to 2011, he developed legislative policy as a research analyst for the Washington House Republican Caucus. Prior to that he worked for the Freedom Foundation as the Project Manager for the Teachers Paycheck Protection project, shepherding the development of the Foundation’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court case to protect teacher rights. Jami is an accomplished speaker and researcher, one of Washington state’s top scholars on education policy and finance.