CU backs off union retaliation (for now)

If you were one of the many people who called University of Colorado about their union busting tactics, thank you!

Thanks to your swift and thunderous action, the University contacted us in the mid-afternoon to stop the action!

So many calls poured into the office of Amy Beckstrom (Executive Director of Housing and Dining), that the University vowed to make fair and equitable decisions for affected workers. They were clear that our concerns were heard and that your collective voice made the difference.

That said, our campaign to win a $15/hour minimum wage for all CU employees is ongoing. That means there may be times in the future when the University will try this or other intimidation tactics again.

Fighting for a living wage at CU we will stand firm in the face of obstacles, knowing we have the support of our union brothers and sisters throughout the state.


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URGENT: CSU call-in action today!

One of our union sisters at CSU has filed a sexual harassment case with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and now University administration is retaliating against her.

Can you take 5 minutes right now to call CSU President Tony Frank and tell him that sexual assault and victim-blaming will not be tolerated?

Frank has been an outspoken ally in the fight against sexual assault among students, but he may not be aware that his own staff faces these challenges daily.

Call 844-326-3658 and say you have a message for President Frank, then say the following:

President Frank:

The issue of sexual assault on campus isn’t just about students, it affects University employees, too. Take a strong stand against sexual violence among your own staff and tell Facilities Management Assistant Director Sandy Sheahan to stop retaliation against sexual assault victims. As you’ve said yourself, it’s on us to stop sexual assault, and you should start with your own staff.

This is not the first time we’ve seen retaliation against union members who stand up for themselves and their coworkers, but to be targeted after an experience as traumatic as sexual harassment is especially heinous.

Please take 5 minutes right now to call CSU and tell President Frank that it’s on HIM to stop sexual assault among his own staff. 


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CU-Boulder retaliates against union members active in Fight for $15

UPDATE: Thank you to all who have made calls on behalf of CU’s low wage workers. We just received word that the University has heard us and is working to address the issues we brought up. At this time we are not routing any more calls to the University.

Thank you for your support!

Boulder – Disciplinary actions have been brought up for at least three members of Colorado WINS who have been involved in the on-campus fight for a living wage for all workers. Colorado WINS is the union that represents the state’s classified employees.

Last year, workers on the University of Colorado Boulder campus began an organized campaign for a $15/hour minimum wage for all campus employees. Under pressure from its workers, the University acknowledged low pay was a problem for many service positions on campus and issued minor raises to nearly 500 employees.

Since then, University administrators have carried out union-busting tactics such as removing union representatives from open employee meetings, bringing unwarranted disciplinary action against workers, and refusing to engage in pay discussions with a peer-elected group of union members.

Colorado WINS union members, and some student organizations, will hold a call-in on Wednesday, asking administrators to pull the disciplinary actions and will engage in direct action on Thursday and Friday if the write-ups are upheld.


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Statement: Pueblo Regional Center CMS report

Colorado WINS is issuing the following statement in response to a disturbing Center for Medicaid Services report on conditions at the Pueblo Regional Center for the developmentally disabled.

“This report is concerning for everyone involved, and any kind of abuse is intolerable,” said Executive Director Tim Markham. “The vast majority of PRC staff are hardworking, dedicated public servants, and we appreciate DHS management’s quick communication with those workers about the CMS report.”

“We will continue to advocate for adequate staffing and improving staff retention for the safety of residents and workers alike through the Partnership with DHS. One of the ways we can help is by facilitating communication from front line staff about problems so they can safely report concerns. Effective, early communication is critical to protecting both residents and workers in the future.”

“And we agree wholeheartedly with the Governor when he says that, ‘compensation for these difficult jobs is very low.’ In order to recruit and retain the best quality public servants the compensation issue must be addressed. We’re confident that the Governor and his team have heard the workers on this and will make compensation a priority.”

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State employee raise MUST be a priority for 2017 legislative session

From Executive Director Tim Markham

Dear members,

Today, I have both good and bad news to bring you.

First, the good. On Monday, I met with the Governor’s staff to deliver 1400 signatures and set our demands. I asked that the Governor include the following in his Nov. 1 budget proposal:

  • a 6% raise for all classified state employees
  • additional funding for occupational groups disproportionately behind market (as outlined in DPA’s report)
  • a $15/hour minimum wage for all state employees

The meeting went well, with the Governor’s staff receptive and open to discussion about pay issues in the state workforce. I also emphasized the importance of matching pay increases with a firm commitment to Partnership, so that front line employee voices can be heard by facility decision makers. (more…)

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State employees need 6% and commitment to Partnership

During last year’s tough budget cycle, state workers were left without a raise (merit or cost-of-living). In the three years before that we had to fight with all our might to secure minimal raises, ranging from 1%-2.5% plus Merit Pay.

On August 1, the state released its annual compensation analysis, which revealed that state employee wages are falling further and further behind the private sector median, to the average of 5.7% this year.

Last year’s report showed that state employee base salaries were already 3% behind the market – we’re clearly headed in the wrong direction.

This year, Colorado WINS members will be advocating for a 6% across-the-board increase for all classified state employees (more…)

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CU-Boulder tries to squash the union

If you’ve been following the CU-Boulder Fight for $15, you know that CFO Kelly Fox has been meeting with WINS members since January. Discussions slowed down when Fox announced she wanted to circumvent the process workers agreed upon by refusing to meet with the elected delegation of union representatives.

Instead, Fox called for a meeting of CU-Boulder classified employees where her staff openly and brazenly denounced the union and ejected union staff from the meeting. Additionally, Interim Chief HR Officer Katherine Erwin decried the importance of workers coming together for a common cause and insisted that individuals represent themselves in discussions about pay, benefits and other job-related matters.

You can read more about the meeting at

Clearly, we cannot let this stand. Colorado WINS members unite in the face of obstacles and don’t leave their colleagues out to fight for themselves, by themselves.

Let CU-Boulder and Kelly Fox know that union busting is NOT OK! Share this Facebook post with your friends to show solidarity with CU’s workers.

It is our right as state workers, whether we are at DHS, CU-Boulder or a correctional facility, to fight together, negotiate together and win together. 

The July 7 meeting with Fox and Erwin only brought more resolve to CU-Boulder workers to unite in their fight for a living wage.

We insist on our right to organize and be represented by our union. It’s only because we came together that we were able to push the administration to issue nearly 500 wage increases to lowest paid employees on our campus.

We will continue to recruit more members so that all voices of CU Boulder employees can be heard collectively.

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Colorado WINS statement on CCA’s Burlington prison closure

Colorado WINS has long advocated for the state disengaging from the private prison industry. It’s a morally indefensible industry and we shouldn’t use tax dollars to prop up parasitic business models.

These rural communities were sold a bill of goods: the prisons provide minimal jobs, with very low pay and dangerous working conditions. Hopefully some of the money saved from paying CCA is reinvested in real economic development for rural Colorado.



Read the Denver Post story here.

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Stop the DYC Seclusion bill!

For some time now we’ve been keeping our eye on House Bill 1328, which deals with seclusion policy in the Division of Youth Corrections and establishes an oversight committee to oversee these policies.

Colorado WINS members in DYC oppose HB 1328 because it limits what officers can and cannot do in an emergency situation.  

As you know, DYC policy already states that seclusion is never to be used as a punishment. In addition, the DYC Partnership Team, which brings together frontline workers and management, has been pivotal in shaping a new time out policy that has reduced the number of incidents resulting in seclusion.

To stop this bill, we need to act TODAY (Wednesday, May 4)!

Call 844-326-3658 (or use the form on the right) and tell Sens. Lambert and Lundberg to KILL HB 1328.

While the future of this bill was in jeopardy just last week, yesterday it picked up Senators Lambert and Lundberg as sponsors and looks like it may come up for a vote in a Senate committee.

When you call, you can use the following script to voice your opposition to the bill.

Dear Senator,

Please kill HB 1328.

Seclusion is never a form of punishment and occurs only in emergency situations, where officers have to do what is necessary in order to protect other residents and staff at a facility.

As a DYC officer I urge you to kill HB 1328. Instead, please meet with Colorado WINS members in DYC directly so our experiences may inform the best way to move forward through policy.

We need to call today in order to stop this bill from becoming a law.

Take 2 minutes RIGHT NOW and call 844-326-3658 to tell Sens. Lambert and Lundberg to KILL HB 1328.

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State employees held harmless in worst budget in years

With last week’s passage of the Colorado state budget, state employees will maintain wage gains made over the past three years and see no increase in their health insurance premiums.

In a year when nearly every budget item faced cuts, Colorado WINS members were able to stave off any reductions to the paychecks of their coworkers. 

In fact, we were able to hold the line on several proposals, including: full funding for Health/Life/Dental premiums, full funding for the state’s PERA contributions and keep $1 million in funding for staffing at the Dept. of Youth Corrections. 

As I’ve explained in previous emails, although state workers did not receive a raise this year, lack of cuts means that state workers have fared fairly well in a bleak budget year threatened by mandatory TABOR spending.

On a brighter note, although there was no state-issued raise this year, members organized to put pressure on University of Colorado Boulder administration and as a result nearly 500 low-wage CU-Boulder employees received a raise in February. So even in years when the state budget is bleak, members who organize and work together can still achieve wage victories.


Other news from the Capitol

While some members of the legislature threatened to cut nearly 100 positions from the state payroll by dismantling the Clean Air program, we successfully lobbied to keep the program and the positions fully funded.

One of the last amendments to make it into the budget gave $3 million to for-profit prison operator Corrections Corporation of America. Colorado WINS has long been opposed to our state doing business with a corporation that profits from incarceration. Now, in addition to our continued moral objections, we have released a statement denouncing the last minute bailout of CCA.

Below is the full statement:

“The for-profit prison industry is built on exploitation. They exploit our criminal justice system, they exploit their workers, they exploit the communities in which their facilities are located and they exploit Colorado taxpayers.

Unlike our state correctional facilities and professional correctional officers, for-profit prisons are not accountable to taxpayers. And they do not provide stable, community-building jobs – these are low-wage, low-security, high-turnover positions.

Colorado WINS has long stood publicly against the for-profit prison industry. This latest bailout is just one more example of why Colorado should extricate ourselves from this predatory and morally corrupt industry.”

We are still waiting to see what will happen with HB 16-1420, which deals with the Hospital Provider Fee. This bill has been a priority for Colorado WINS and we may need to take action to ensure this bill passes before the session ends next month.

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