In 2007, state employees came together to form Colorado Workers for Innovative and New Solutions (WINS). Members from three of the state’s employee organizations decided to pool our resources for a greater voice to improve state jobs and services. We work in partnership with the state to improve quality of services, working conditions, safety, conflict resolution, staff attrition, pay and benefits and more to ensure that we have an effective workforce to serve all Coloradans.
Since our start we’ve been able to improve state services, jobs and build a strong, member-driven employee organization.
Some of our 2015 accomplishments included:
In the legislature, we secured $8.4 million toward state employee healthcare premium costs (lowering the overall increase by more than 66%). We also secured a 1% across-the-board and 1% Merit Pay wage increases for all state workers.
In the Dept. of Human Services (DHS), we continued to meet with executive management in Partnership. As a result, several sub committees dedicated to independent topics were formed:
DYC Safety SubCommittee has been working on policies and procedures that would make facilities safer for both staff and residents. For example, they’ve redefined the “Time Out” policy for youth offenders involved in major incidents.
During meetings with DHS executive management about alleviating compression pay for nurses at state hospitals, the state acknowledges there is a problem and has committed to finding ways to fix it. WINS members are in continual talks with the department about how to create a more equitable pay structure for new and veteran nurses.
Through their work at the Employee Management Committee (EMC) table at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Ft. Logan, WINS members created mock schedules to help with morale and retention (trial of the new schedule will go live in January).
Members at Colorado’s Regional Centers are diligently working to improve the services they provide while making sure work rules are fair and equitable. In Pueblo, members have an active EMC and strong stewards who have taken on issues from scheduling to patient safety concerns. In Wheat Ridge, a new EMC has been a result of union intimidation. Additionally, though the partnership team, Wheat Ridge Regional Center has revised hiring guidelines to alleviate short staffing and forced overtime.
In the Dept. of Corrections (DOC), member leaders have focused on identifying and training other leaders on a regional scale. This year alone, nearly 20 stewards have been trained at various facilities in DOC. DOC’s mental health professionals are working on coordinating a statewide team to build a mental health specific EMC to deal with their issues directly.
In the Division of Parole, members participated in a lengthy survey about their compensation and treatment at work. We surveyed more than a third of all Parole Officers in the state and put together an analysis of the results.
In the Dept. of Higher Education, workers at various campuses have been joining together to fight for power, higher wages and respect on the job.
- At the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), custodians are pushing for a “worker bill of rights” to be adopted on campus. They have participated in “listening sessions” with University President Kay Norton, where they spoke up about instances of university staff turning a blind eye to racism, sexism, ableism, and anti-union harassment.
- Workers at University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) collected more than 1000 signatures for their Fight For $15, organized and led a rally to deliver the petitions to the University’s Chief Financial Officer, and had a first meeting with University management to discuss a $15/hr minimum wage for the campus.
- Workers from other campuses in Colorado, including University of Colorado Colorado Springs, UNC, Adams State and Colorado Mesa University have joined the union in solidarity with the Fight for $15 actions at CU-Boulder.
Our members also participated in various conferences, trainings and conventions throughout the year.
Our own third triennial Member Convention gathered more than 100 members from across Colorado. During the Convention elected Delegates voted on constitutional amendments and resolutions, new Executive Officers and other union business. The new Executive Board, which includes Officers and District Chapter Vice Presidents, was sworn in to serve for the next three years.
Several members also attended the SEIU IGNITE Conference in St. Louis to learn new leadership skills and begin implementing them in their own facilities.
More than 25 members attended the AFT Public Employees Conference in Denver, which brought together public servants from across the country. Members shared stories about attacks on public sector employees and how to build power through collective action.
Some of our 2014 accomplishments included:
- Securing a 2.5% pay raise (in addition to Merit Pay)
- Keeping Health/Life/Dental premiums from rising
- Working to improve healthcare options for state workers
- Securing a court ruling on overtime compensation for essential employees
In previous years some of Colorado WINS members’ recent accomplishments included:
- 2.5% back into paychecks: Since July 2010, state workers have been forced to pay an additional 2.5% into PERA (10.5% total) while the state reduced its contribution. Colorado WINS members collected and delivered more than 1,700 petition signatures to the DPA Director and more than 3,200 postcards to the Governor urging them to restore the 2.5% cost shift back to employee paychecks, while keeping PERA solvent. This will keep about $20 million in employees’ pockets when this provision goes into effect on July 1, 2012.
- Full funding for health premium increases: In 2013, according to figures from the JBC, it appears that employee out-of-pocket healthcare cost will not increase on July 1. In fact, current figures show slight decreases in out of pocket costs. In 2012, the JBC voted not to increase the employee contribution for healthcare premiums. This was the first time in at least 4 years that employees did not pay more for healthcare premiums.
- Nearly 500 jobs saved: In 2012, Colorado WINS opposed any layoffs and urged lawmakers to keep full funding of the Health, Life and Dental premium increase. On March 29, 2012, JBC members approved a 1% personal services reduction, exempting 24-hour (24/7) facilities, Public Safety and divisions with less than 20 FTE. This meant that correctional facilities and DHS facilities were held harmless and experienced no reductions. The Governor’s office made clear that other divisions that fall under the 1% can manage the cuts without layoffs.
- Dept. of Corrections Partnership: Elected Colorado WINS members on the DOC Partnership Team are actively engaging DOC management in discussions on how to fix these problems. The Partnership team’s ongoing goal is to address any hot button issues and overarching problems at DOC. Right now, the Partnership team is working on finding solutions to the 28-day system.
- Healthcare Partnership: Elected WINS Healthcare representative have been working with the Dept. of Personnel and Administration on finding ways to provide better healthcare at reasonable costs. Early conversations about cost-containment methods for healthcare have centered state Wellness programs, similar to ones in Connecticut, Oregon and Montana.
- Established employee voice in the workplace through facility level committees at the worksite that share in problem solving and decision making with management in the Department of Human Services.
- Improved communication and efficiency of services through an on-going taskforce to modernize communication through intranet, email and other means in the Department of Revenue
- Restored flex time scheduling and through identified efficiencies saved the Department of Labor and Employment thousands of dollars in overhead expenses.