Study: collective bargaining leads to better state services, reduced costs for taxpayers

Chronic understaffing and skyrocketing turnover rates cost the state of Colorado $48 million in 2018. Today, one in five authorized state jobs is vacant, undermining some of Colorado’s most essential public health and protection services. State employees on the frontlines every day know how to address these challenges but they need effective tools to do it.

Last week, the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) released a white paper that establishes collective bargaining as one of those tools. Collective Bargaining can Reduce Turnover and Improve Public Services in Colorado clearly shows that giving state employee the freedom to collectively bargain a union contract brings better services to Colorado communities.

During testimony at the Colorado House State Affairs hearing April 9, Rich Jones, the author of the white paper, said, “Academic research in this area shows that collective bargaining, and giving workers more control, more voice in their jobs and their operations, gets greater commitment and results in lower turnover rates.” He pointed out that when compared to other Western states, turnover in Colorado’s Department of Human Services is among the highest.   

“Having unions and collective bargaining helps implement the use of high-performance work practices [that] give employees more say on the job and result in stronger performance,” Jones testified. He added that collective bargaining can also lead to safer workplaces and increased “quality and effectiveness of services provided to Coloradans.”

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