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Campaigns

Colorado State Employee Spotlight: Liz Lemonds

Elisabeth Lemonds is today’s featured Colorado state employee. As a water quality inspector for the Department of Public Health and the Environment, she’s keeping people safe.

Liz Lemonds, Public Health and Environment

Liz Lemonds, Public Health and Environment

A State Employee’s Contribution to Clean Water

There’s only one Liz Lemonds — and she works hard to keep your family healthy.

Liz leads water quality monitoring at around 500 Colorado sites that use relatively clean, recycled water from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. While the water has been processed by water treatment plants, it could sicken people if its treatment and quality isn’t carefully watched.

“That’s a lot of sites where people are playing and working and living their lives. People take for granted that it’s safe, but it does take oversight,” Liz said.

Making a Difference

Liz has been a state employee for more than a decade, but it’s not where her journey began.

“I wanted to feel like I was doing something. I had been a teacher for a number of years and decided that was not the best way for me to contribute,” Liz recalled. “I felt like the best way to use my science background was working for the state to make a difference for the environment and for the people who live and visit Colorado.

She’s won respect from colleagues with her work too.

“Liz cares deeply about all of her co-workers, and works tirelessly to advance inclusion and equity in the workplace,” Al Stafford wrote in his nomination of Liz. “She is always the first to check in after a difficult phone call or conversation.”

Join the Union

Colorado’s clean water, clean air, and our spectacular environment are all vital parts of the Colorado way of life. And dedicated public servants like Liz are working hard every day to protect these treasures and safeguard the health of our communities.

With the freedom to collectively bargain and a stronger voice on the job, frontline workers can help direct resources where they are most needed to promote a cleaner, healthier environment for Coloradans.

 

State employees are stronger when we stand together. Please join Colorado WINS and help advocate for workers like Liz — and you.

Join the Union


 

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Colorado State Employee Spotlight: Shannon Wilson

Shannon Wilson is today’s stand-out Colorado state employee. She’s a medical records technician at Trinidad Correctional Facility — and a whole lot more.

 

Shannon Wilson is a medical records technician at Trinidad Correctional Facility — and a whole lot more.

Shannon Wilson, Department of Corrections

A Colorado State Employee Going Above and Beyond

“When she’s gone, we recognize she’s gone,” said co-worker Pauline Boyd when interviewed about why she nominated Shannon for a state employee shout-out.

That’s because Shannon doesn’t just perform duties of a medical records technician for which she’s paid. Her job classification is one of the lowest paid positions in the Department of Corrections, but she also helps by doing additional work to assist nurses and make their jobs easier, since the facility is not fully staffed.

“What makes her so amazing is that she still comes to work every day with a smile on her face and does an amazing job,” continued Boyd. “Although she literally doesn’t get paid for it.”

In fact, Shannon is effectively performing the duties of four positions.

She helps ensure that providers have what they need to care for offenders experiencing health issues. And, because of her efforts, people leaving incarceration are better prepared to continue any medical care they might need.

“The biggest challenge I face is time. Because of all of the extra duties that I do,” said Wilson. “If I’m not there to do my job, then the nurses have a hard time treating people. I’m constantly stopping and going and doing ten other times.”

Join the Union

Last year, one in five authorized state positions remained vacant, with a vacancy rate of more than one in 10 positions within the Department of Corrections last summer. That understaffing overwhelms state workers and undermines our ability to serve Colorado.

 

State employees are stronger when we stand together. Please join Colorado WINS and help advocate for workers like Shawnee — and you.

Join the Union


 

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Colorado State Employee Spotlight: Shawnee Lorimore

Today’s online shout-out goes to Shawnee Lorimore. Shawnee works for the Department of Corrections as a culinary instructor at Trinidad Correctional Facility.

 

Colorado State Employee Spotlight: Shawnee Lorimore 

“I’m really popular because I feed everybody,” Shawnee joked recently.

At the end of the day, Shawnee is preparing much more than food, though. She’s teaching vital life and jobs skills that help reduce criminal recidivism by enabling offenders become more successful and productive members of the community.

“She brings out the best in these guys and she brings out the best in all of us,” Shawnee’s colleague Pauline Boyd explained.

A Colorado State Employee Making a Difference

Trinidad is not the state’s largest correctional facility. Nonetheless, Shawnee’s program had some of the highest culinary program completions in Colorado’s Department of Corrections.

Shawnee’s impact isn’t just a question of numbers either.

Once, a long-absent father preparing to be paroled wanted Shawnee to teach him to cook for his family. He’d been incarcerated for much of his children’s lives and was going to be a single father.

“He wanted to be able to establish a home — and food had always been at the center of his family,” Shawnee remembered. “Those moments are priceless.”

Proud to Serve Colorado

For people like Shawnee, working for the state is more than just a job:

“I am so proud to be an employee of the state and work for the Department of Corrections,” Shawnee said. “Working for DOC isn’t a glamorous job, but I am so proud of what I do.”

Shawnee is just one of nearly 29,000 state employees in Colorado, dedicated workers who provide vital public services every hour of the day and every day of the year. The Department of Corrections alone helped 1,110 people complete programs to promote successful community reintegration and reduce criminal recidivism.

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Despite the contributions of hardworking people like Shawnee, state employee pay has lagged even as the cost of housing, healthcare and other essentials has skyrocketed in the state.

As a result, the Department of Corrections and other agencies and departments face increasing staff turnover and chronic understaffing that undermine public employees and the services we provide.

 

State employees are stronger when we stand together. Please join Colorado WINS and help advocate for workers like Shawnee — and you.

Join the Union


 

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State Employee Spotlight: Rana Gonzales, Human Services

State workers make important contributions each and every week, day, and hour of the year. Today we’re spotlighting Rana Gonzales, a Health Care Liaison who’s worked at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo for 15 years.

Rana Gonzales, DHS
 

Meet Rana

“I care deeply about the work that I do to help patients meet their mental health care goals so that they can leave the hospital and hopefully return to a healthy and independent life in their community,” Rana recently told state legislators.

Her co-worker Lucy Munoz, says Rana is “extremely knowledgeable in her job and the mental health field.”

“She has a passion for her job that is not seen often enough,” says Lucy. “Rana is not afraid to help nursing staff when things get hectic. She is a great asset to our facility and to our patients. As a long time coworker and friend she inspires me to be a better patient advocate.”

Rana is also an active member of Colorado WINS. She worked hard this spring to advocate for state employees at the Capitol and on the job.

“I love this work but sometimes I wonder if I can keep doing it. My department is critically short staffed,” Rana told legislators.

“If we had a stronger voice and a way to enforce agreements we reach with the State, we could help improve services, she continued. “It is critical that we have the right to collectively bargain with the state. We are one of only 16 states where state employees do not have this freedom.”

“We want a real partnership with the state to fix understaffing and improve the quality of services.”

Join the Union

 


State employees are stronger when we stand together. Please join Colorado WINS and help advocate for workers — and you.

Join the Union

 


 

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Colorado State Employee Spotlight: Eric Olsen

Today’s Colorado State Employee Spotlight is Eric Olsen, a corrections officer at the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center. Eric is a fierce advocate for his co-workers and for safer conditions for employees and inmates at Colorado’s corrections facilities.

State Employee Spotlight: Eric Olsen, DOC

An Advocate for State Employees and Safety

Dealing with understaffing, forced overtime and the difficult job conditions that come with them can be exhausting for officers like Olsen. Olsen told Denver7 earlier this year, “If you have someone working a 16-hour shift, when they get on the road, it’s not safe for the public.”

Eric isn’t the only office impacted by understaffing. The Department of Corrections — along with the state Human Services and Transportation Departments — experiences some of the highest employee turnover rates among state agencies.

Colorado WINS’ Vision for State Employees

Colorado WINS believes that state employees deserve respect, dignity — and the power to improve address issues like understaffing that threaten the staff and inmates of our correctional facilities. With the freedom to collectively bargain and a stronger voice on the job, we can make it happen.

 

State employees are stronger when we stand together. Please join Colorado WINS and help advocate for workers — and you.

Join the Union

 


 

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Shout Out a Great State Employee!

Do you know a great employee of the State of Colorado? Help them get some well-earned recognition.

Shout Out a Great State Employee

 
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Collective Bargaining for Colorado State Employees Update

State employees in Colorado are rising. Colorado WINS president Skip Miller explains what’s happening in our campaign to secure the freedom to collectively bargain for nearly 29,000 state employees — and why YOUR voice is needed to improve pay, benefits, and working conditions for state employees.

  1. Watch the video
  2. Join the Union (Or Update Your Contact Info)
  3. The Road Ahead

(more…)

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Joint statement from Governor Polis and WINS Executive Director Glasgow on HB 19-1273

Below is a joint statement from Gov. Polis and Hilary Glasgow, Colorado WINS Executive Director:

The state employees who serve the citizens of Colorado do critical work to keep us safe, clear our roads, provide nursing care for our veterans, maintain our parks and natural resources, keep our air and water clean, respond to emergencies and so much more. We value the voices of state employees in improving public services and fostering innovation and efficiency. Since 2007, the State and Colorado WINS have worked in partnership to improve public services for all Coloradans.

To achieve our shared goal of providing the highest quality public services for Coloradans, the State of Colorado and state employees, represented by Colorado WINS, will expand our existing partnership to make the state an example of innovation in public service. Additionally, over the next 6 months we will enter into discussions to address outstanding issues surrounding House Bill 1273 and other issues affecting the state workforce and the people of Colorado that cannot be resolved in the few remaining days that exist in the legislative session. We are confident that we will successfully resolve these outstanding issues before the 2020 legislative session.

We believe we all benefit when frontline workers come together to find solutions so that Colorado is a place where all families and communities can thrive.

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For many, Sunday is a holiday. Some state employees will be working.

State employees provide vital services all day, every day — even on holidays.

You can thank them with your support. To provide better service, they need the freedom to collectively bargain, the same freedom …

  • State employees in 34 other states have.
  • Employees in Colorado who work for private companies have.
  • Federal workers and other public servants have.

 

Sign the Petition for Collective Bargaining

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Skip Miller, Nancy Fey, Chris Bonham

Skip Chris Website

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