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Lobby Day 2013 Roundup

Colorado state workers met with their legislators this morning to talk long-overdue pay raises, improved staffing and scheduling for correctional officers, and the state’s budget priorities around for-profit prisons.

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The Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, Mark Ferrandino, addressed the workers at their morning meeting.

“As a former state employee myself – I was a budget analyst – state worker concerns will always be a priority for me,” said Ferrandino. “What happens to them affects communities around the Colorado. After four years without a raise, it’s time to help them catch up and help continue Colorado’s economic recovery.”

Patti Ortiz, who works at Adams State University met with her Representative, Ed Vigil (D-Alamosa).

“We urged him to vote for a 2% base building raise for everyone,” said Ortiz. “And we reminded him of how important public employees at Adams State are to the economy of the San Luis Valley.”

Skip Miller, who works at the School of Mines, enjoyed his conversation with Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton).

“I talked to him about how much a base-building raise means to all of us, and he really listened to how the 2% increase will help Colorado’s economy by helping state workers.”

On January 30, the Colorado General Assembly’s Joint Budget Committee (JBC) gave preliminary approval to a long-overdue pay raise for state workers that goes beyond the Governor’s budget request. The new budget proposal includes a 2% increase and some employees could see as much as a 4.4% raise under the new merit pay system. After four years of cuts to state worker pay, the group will be advocating for a base-building increase for every employee. A recent salary survey found public workers in Colorado an average of 9% behind their private sector counterparts.

The Union will also be lobbying for new legislation, scheduled to be introduced this week, that will implement new scheduling and staffing standards to improve timekeeping and overtime compensation for corrections officers. Larry VanGelder, a corrections officer at CSP who lives in Canon City, talked to a number of legislators about why these changes are needed and overdue.

Colorado WINS is also pushing a new “state-bed first policy” as the state’s inmate population declines for the first time since the 1990s. Read the Colorado WINS report Imprisoned by Profit: Breaking Colorado’s Dependence on For-Profit Prisons”.

The Joint Budget Committee’s figure-setting and budget discussions for the Department of Corrections and the 2013-2014 fiscal year begins as soon as Tuesday, March 12.

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