Colorado Right to Work Laws

What are 'Right to Work' Laws?

A growing number of states have passed legislation commonly referred to as "right to work" laws, which prohibit labor contracts that require employees to join (or prohibit them from joining) labor unions as a condition of employment. In states without right to work laws, employees may be compelled to join the respective union and pay dues if their contract was secured through a collective bargaining agreement.

Does Colorado Have Right to Work Laws?

Colorado does not have a right to work law, at least one that is similar to those of other states, despite efforts to pass one (a ballot initiative failed in 2012). However, the state operates a kind of hybrid policy under its Labor Peace Act (PDF). Under this act, employees at most workplaces are not required to join a union or pay dues, even though they enjoy the same compensation and benefits as union members. By not joining the union, however, workers are not covered by union protections (including legal representation in employment disputes).

But Colorado also allows workers to override right to work provisions by becoming an "all-union" shop. This is achieved by a 75 percent approval vote by employees, a process that is overseen by the Colorado Department of Labor (see the department's Labor Relations / Unions section for information on how to initiate a unionization vote).

The following chart includes additional details about Colorado's labor laws, including information about the Labor Peace Act, with links to related resources below.

Code Section No statutory provisions for "right to work"
Other Laws Related to Union Membership
8-3-101, et seq. (Colorado Labor Peace Act)
Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc. Freedom to organize and right to refrain from organizing
Prohibited Activity Interfere with, restrain, or coerce person's right to organize or refrain from organizing
Penalties Civil liability damages; misdemeanor, first offense not less than $50 nor more than $100, 2nd and subsequent offenses not less than $100 nor more than $500, together with costs

Note: State laws are always in transition and subject to change, usually through new legislation, higher court decisions, or ballot initiatives. We make every effort to maintain the accuracy of these pages, but you may also want to contact a Colorado labor attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Colorado Right to Work Laws: Related Resources

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