Office of Sen.

Mike Johnston
Colorado General Assembly | 200 E. Colfax Avenue | Denver, CO 80203 | 303.866.4864

SB 13-017
Opt-In Opt-Out Option Teacher's Union Membership

Sen. Marble Staff Name: JD Lavallee What the Bill Does: Colorado statute currently permits employees, including public school teachers and educators, to join a labor organization for the purpose of collectively bargaining.1 Colorado statute also allows employees to refrain from joining a labor organization.2 Currently, typical union contracts only allow employees to withdraw membership during one period in the school year.3 This bill will enact statutory language that would immediately allow educators to join or withdraw from a union. Colorado Context: Colorado currently has two major state teacher unions and 62.4% of teachers are unionized.4 These unions bring in $256 annually per teacher in the state, which ranks 36th nationally.5 This bill is similar to HB 12-1333, which would have permitted public school employees to withdraw union membership and stop paying dues upon 30 days written notice. HB 12-1333 passed the House, but was postponed indefinitely by the Senate Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs last May. National Context: Last year legislators in Rhode Island introduced similar legislation to SB 13-017, labeling it “Teachers Right To Work.”6 The bill did not make it out of committee as it was held for further study.

1 2

C.R.S. § 8-3-106 Id. 3 Literacy advances; ASSET doesn’t, EdNews Colorado, Apr. 25, 2012, (last visited Jan. 25, 2013),’t. 4 How Strong Are Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Oct. 29, 2012, 5 Id. 6 See Rhode Island House Bill 5883 and Senate Bill 2258.

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Currently there are 24 states with some form of right-to-work legislation.7 However, nationally there is a wide range of policies regarding public employees, labor organizations, and the right to collectively bargain.8 Bill Provisions: • Adds language that will permit educators employed in a school district or public school to join or terminate membership in a labor organization at any time. • Adds safety clause language that will permit this bill to take effect immediately upon passage. Fiscal Impact: No fiscal note associated with this legislation has been prepared.


Right-To-Work Resources, National Conference Of State Legislatures, (last visited Jan. 24, 2013), 8 Compare, e.g., Georgia ST § 20-2-989.10 (barring teachers from collectively bargaining) with Maine ST T. 26 § 962 (requiring public employers to collectively bargain).

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For a complete list of fact sheets, visit

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