JBC Members Respond to Senate GOP Letter

The leadership of the Joint Budget Committee took issue today with Republican calls to change the way the state conducts its salary surveys, specifically salaries in the Department of Corrections.

Prompted by a July 19 letter signed by the entire Senate Republican caucus accusing the Department of Personnel and Administration of ignoring law and best practice when conducting salary surveys of the state prison system, the JBC members sent a letter today to DPA Executive Director Kathy Nesbitt, backing the state’s salary survey process.

open-letter2If you’re a corrections officer, make sure you make your objections are also heard.

Sign your name to the Open Letter to Senate Republicans who want you to take a pay cut. Let them know that a career in corrections should not be treated like a minimum wage job.

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WINS Executive Board sends letter to Republican caucus

Last Friday, Colorado Senate Republicans sent a letter to DPA proposing to cut 4000 Colorado correctional officer salaries by 1/3 (approx $17K), reducing them to the level of 500 for-profit prison guards.

The Executive Board of Colorado WINS responded to the Republican caucus, defining their position on the issues brought forth, such as transparency and compensation.

Read the original letter here or the transcript below.

If you’re a corrections officer and would like to tell your senators that you deserve a raise, not a pay cut, add your name to the Open Letter to Senate Republicans.


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Colorado Senate GOP proposes slashing corrections pay by one third

In a letter to DPA Director Kathy Nesbitt from Friday, July 19, Colorado Senate Republicans took issue with the most recent salary survey, claiming that it was not properly conducted.

As an example, the 15 undersigned Senators propose that Colorado’s 4000 Corrections Officers should be paid approximately 33% less than their current average pay to match the average salary of for-profit prison employees.

Click here to read the original letter or read the transcript below.

Let us know what you think in the comments or sign your name to the Open Letter, asking Senate Republicans to withdraw their letter.


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Prison Utilization Study results released

Today, the Joint Budget Committee was presented with the results of the Prison Utilization Study, examining Colorado’s corrections system.

The report does not recommend immediate closures of any facilities. Instead, it ranks all facilities on a 3-tier system, with Tier III facilities being the lowest and those that may be considered for temporary or permanent closure depending upon long term population trends.

The report also debunks the myth that Colorado must continue to rely on for-profit prisons. For example, a cursory look at the data seems to show that Level III public facilities cost 36% more per diem than their counterpart privates ($74.15 vs. $54.35). However, the report shows that the difference in costs is largely attributable to the low staffing and low pay at the for-profit facilities.

The study also makes the point that reopening state beds is less expensive compared to private beds. For instance, it costs about $17 per diem to reopen a state bed, whereas the privates are all full freight (around $54/day). It’s clear from this report that state beds become the most cost effective solution.

To view the PowerPoint presentation from the JBC meeting, please click here.

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Pueblo Chieftain: Paycheck fairness for prison staff

Colorado WINS member and DOC employee Larry VanGelder’s guest editorial in The Pueblo Chieftain talks about the effects of Senate Bill 210 on the state’s Corrections Officers.

If you’re an employee in the Dept. of Corrections make sure to tell us how you think SB 210 will affect morale at your facility. Visit and take the short, 2-minute survey.

After years of frustration, the Colorado legislature has finally done right by our corrections officers and fixed what’s known as the “28-day work period” by passing SB210. […]

SB210 improves overtime pay for officers working double shifts. Once an officer works the 12th hour, anything over 8.5 hours is compensated at time-and-a-half regardless whether or not you hit the 85-hour threshold. For example, if you work 13 consecutive hours, you would receive 4.5 hours of overtime. This is a huge relief to those of us who repeatedly work overtime and don’t see it reflected on our timecards or in our paychecks. […]

SB210 didn’t just happen. Our union, Colorado WINS, and our corrections officers made this happen.

After the bill was introduced, corrections officers from Pueblo, Canon City and Las Animas drove to Denver twice to testify in support of SB210. Personal testimony to the legislators about the unfairness of the 28-day work period made all the difference.

In the coming weeks and months, Colorado WINS will be at the table making sure that DOC gets the implementation of these changes right. I plan on taking the future into my own hands by talking to my co-workers, being an active part of my union and being an active part of those discussions.

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Governor signs SB 210

Senate Bill 210 was signed into law on May 24 by the Governor in a ceremony at the former Fort Lyon facility. In his remarks, the Governor thanked Colorado WINS and recognized we are working together in the same direction through difficult issues towards solutions.

Governor signing SB 210

Governor signing SB 210 with WINS member & DOC officer Alex Barnes on far right

Alex Barnes, a WINS member and officer at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility, also spoke at the ceremony saying SB 210 means paycheck fairness for Department of Corrections’ officers who protect public safety.

Colorado correctional officers have for years dealt with inconsistency when it comes to overtime compensation because their profession is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Officers could be held over or work double shifts without getting overtime and with little accountability for hours actually worked.

For more details on Senate Bill 210, click here.

Sen. Giron with WINS members

Sen. Giron (center) with WINS member leaders at SB 210 signing

SB 210 was sponsored by Sen. Angela Giron (Pueblo) and co-sponsored by Rep. Crisanta Duran (Denver) and both were champions in support of corrections officers. Sen. Giron put it so well “…these men and women number in the thousands and are an integral part of our local communities and economies. Their jobs are hard and dangerous. Our ultimate goal is to boost morale among Corrections officers, dignify their work with appropriate pay, and ensure the most accountability possible for taxpayers and state employees alike.”

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A WINS win for state employees

According to today’s Denver Post, state workers were among the winners from this year’s legislative session. We appreciate the nod. The Post failed, however, to give credit where credit is due: it was Colorado WINS members who insisted on having a voice in their future and leaving their mark on the 2013 session!

Colorado WINS was on the offensive for better working conditions, more respect in the workplace and better healthcare offerings.

During the 2013 legislative session, WINS members fought for and won:

  • union-difference2% raise
    The FY 2013-14 budget, which goes into effect on July 1, 2013, includes a 2% raise for Colorado state employees.
  • Merit Pay
    The budget also includes funding for Merit Pay, a system of base-building increases designed to move workers through salary ranges. Employees who score a 2 or 3 on their evaluations can receive between .6% and 2.4% raise.
  • Lower healthcare premiums
    While the original budget proposal covered only half of the projected premium increase, members secured millions in additional funding to fully cover the Health/Life/Dental premium increases.
  • End of 28-day system
    Passage of Senate Bill 210 ends the 28-day system for corrections officers, improves overtime pay and establishes work period and compensation practices (ARs) “through discussions with employees,” among other solutions.


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SB 210 passes, ends 28-day work period

Late Monday night, Senate Bill 210 successfully passed the General Assembly and now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

The passage of SB 210 puts an end to the 28-day work period that allowed forced doubles without additional compensation and lacked transparency for hours worked.

Specifically, the legislation:

  • Ends the 28-day, 171-hour system for a 14-day, 85-hour work period – easier to earn overtime and be less penalized for authorized leave.
  • Improves overtime pay for doubles – once an officer works the 12th hour, anything over 8.5 hours is compensated at time-and-a-half regardless whether or not you hit the 85-hour threshold (ie: if you work 13 consecutive hours, you would receive 4.5 hours of overtime). (more…)
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UPDATE: 28-day and overtime fix funded and headed to state House

14-85-badge-final-webUPDATE (4/19/13): Senate Bill 210 passed its final vote in the Senate and is now headed for a floor vote in the House of Representatives. If you are a Colorado Correctional officer, now’s the time to let your Representative know that he or she should support it.

Original post: Senate Bill 210, which would extend pay and overtime fairness to Correctional and Parole officers, has passed the Appropriations Committee in a 4-3 vote. It is now headed to the full Senate for a vote. (more…)

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Press Release: Corrections officers testify in support of Senate Bill 210

Colorado corrections officers from Pueblo, Canon City, and Trinidad today testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Senate Bill 210, Sen. Angela Giron’s bill to address longstanding concerns about paycheck fairness and accountability for corrections workers. It is co-sponsored in the House by Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver).


Sen. Angela Giron, front, and officers Larry VanGelder (CSP), Rob Apodaca (Trinidad CF) and Alex Barnes (Arkansas Valley CF) during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Senate Bill 210.

Because their profession is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Colorado corrections officers are subject to what’s known as the “28 Day Work Period.” (more…)

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