MHI direct care pays raises won

As part of the state budget, also known as the Long Bill, the legislature approved salary adjustment raises for direct care staff in the two Mental Health Institutes in Pueblo and Ft. Logan.

Almost 5 years ago nursing staff at Ft. Logan brought forward concerns about veteran staff making the same as or less than new hires. This issue had also been raised by social workers at CMHIP. From there the issue was brought to the employee management committee, the DHS Partnership team, and finally to the state legislatfivere.

union-differenceIt was WINS members, who for four long years continuing to push the issue and worked to find a solution, that made this possible.

We know this raise is just a stepping stone in fixing our state’s broken pay system. 

Other job classes, departments, and facilities are still losing valuable and experienced staff without clear mechanisms to help move staff through their salary range. WINS members are continuing to show their dedication to fixing these and other problems.

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Back story:

Fort Logan RNs came together in WINS to work in partnership with the Department of Human Services to address the increasing issue of compression pay at Fort Logan. This campaign expanded to CMHIP staff who were experiencing the same compression issues.

Salary compression is costing the state talented workers as pay stagnates for veteran workers while new workers come in at a higher rate. 

Last June, CMHIP members rallied outside their facility for better pay and working conditions. As we worked with DHS management, the campaign eventually encompassed all the DHS Facilities.

From the work of WINS members meeting with DHS executive management, DHS submitted a request in 2018 to the Joint Budget Committee to adjust all of the 24/7 workers’ salaries. Unfortunately, this request didn’t make it through the Joint Budget Committee into the Long Bill, which is the bill that appropriates money for the state budget including state employee pay.


WINS members from southern Colorado with Sen. Leroy Garcia.

However, when the Long Bill got to the floor of the House, Rep. Daneya Esgar from HD 46, made an amendment for the salaries at the 2 state hospitals, Fort Logan and CMHIP, where DHS is suffering severe staffing shortages. This amendment passed the house.

It then went to the Senate where it was initially stripped out of the Long Bill. Following up on that, Sen. Leroy Garcia from SD3 and Larry Crowder from SD35 moved the same amendment Rep. Esgar made in the house and it stayed on through the third reading!

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