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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Press Release: Colorado WINS opposes subsidizing for-profit prisons

In light of a last-minute revision to Colorado’s state budget that hands $3 million to for-profit prison operator to Corrections Corporation of America to keep open its Kit Carson Correctional Center in eastern Colorado, Colorado WINS has released the following 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.

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In the news: CU workers rally to raise base pay to $15 per hour

9News, April 5, 2016 | CU student workers rally to raise base pay to $15 per hour

DENVER – University of Colorado service and student workers rallied at the Tivoli Center on the Auraria Campus Tuesday, asking the school to raise base pay to $15 per hour.

The rally took place during a CU Board of Regents meeting. Protesters delivered a petition with hundreds of signatures to the regents asking for a living wage of $15 dollars per hour for all all workers on all four CU campuses. CU Boulder raised wages earlier this year for some employees.

“It is time for us to lead the way in a $15 wage. The fact is we need to be that moral example. Because if you work in Denver, you should be able to afford to live in Denver. Same for Boulder, same for Aurora, same for Colorado Springs,” CU Board of Regents member Michael Carrigan said.

CU student workers and service workers say they hope the CU Regents will take tangible steps to address the pay of all campus workers.

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In the news: Parole officers’ insight is important to policy decisions

Denver Post, April 2, 2016 | Parole officers’ insight is important to policy decisions

Re: “Colorado has reduced its prison population, but at what cost to public safety?,” March 20 news story; and “Prisoner reform shouldn’t take precedence over public safety,” March 22 editorial.

As the union that represents Colorado’s parole officers, we were alarmed and concerned with The Post’s news article and editorial about the unintended consequences of reforms at the Department of Corrections. The governor’s call for a review of parole policies is a welcome sign.

A partnership between management and parole officers will be critical to the success of this review. Our parole officers have a common interest with the Department of Corrections management: public safety. The insight and experience of frontline parole officers, who work with and monitor offenders on a daily basis, must be taken into account when making policy decisions that affect not only their jobs but also our community as a whole (more…)

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General Professional Deconsolidation: Frequently Asked Questions

Recently, the Dept. of Personnel and Administration announced that it has begun work on deconsolidating the General Professional series of workers.

At this point Colorado WINS is the only entity looking to provide clarity and educate members about the process that should be followed in the deconsolidation of these classified positions.

If you are in the GP job class, below are some frequently asked questions about the process.

Scroll down or click on the question:


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a deconsolidation?

The Department of Personnel and Administration (a separate department from Personnel/Human Resources offices in individual departments) is tasked by statute each fiscal year with conducting an evaluation of classified positions for compensation practices, levels and cost. The evaluations include a comparison of classifications within the state classified system and determine if they effectively describe the work being done and whether the positions mirror the industry standard for work being done in the private sector.

DPA determined several years ago that the General Professional series was way too broad and it was not possible to compare that extensive of a classification to market trends and salaries. Therefore, the idea of creating several “bands” of classification that describe a particular job segment was implemented, and DPA has been working on this project ever since. The new classifications will take effect for the 2016/17 fiscal year. They also did the same thing for the IT series.

What does this process include?
The process of comparing classifications in the state with market trends is also referred to as a system maintenance study. For a technical guideline to system maintenance studies, visit

What does this mean for me if I am classified as a General Professional?

Currently, departments are looking at all of the new “capsules” and asking employees to collaborate with their supervisors and HR on which “capsule,” their job is most closely related to. HR will give all employees a “crosswalk,” meaning a guideline to which capsule is intended to dovetail with employees’ current duties. There is abit of urgency attached to this task because DPA is gearing to have implementation of this change by July of 2016.

Your HR department and supervisor should be working with you to pick the most appropriate capsule. Although you won’t have an extended time frame to do this, you should have time to research it, ask questions, and feel comfortable with whatever band is chosen. If you do not feel that the capsule is adequate, you should express your thoughts in an email as soon as possible and stress that you would like as much input as possible. Most jobs will not fit every descriptor in the new band, but the bulk of it should dovetail.

Who has the final say in picking the new capsule?

There are Human Resources Analysts across the state whose job it is to determine job classifications. They are working together to make sure there is consistency in evaluating the crossover to the new capsules. They will be listening to input and working with supervisors and employees, but HR Analysts have the final say about job classifications.

Will my job duties change?

Your job duties and Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) should not change. If your PDQ has not been updated in several years, then it potentially could because it should have been updated to match what is expected of you each year. You should have significant input in this process, in partnership with HR and your supervisor. Make sure to ask whether your PDQ is being revised or updated as a side-bar to this process, and that you are kept apprised of any changes before they are finalized.

Do these new bands affect my pay?

The transition to the new capsules is not intended to give demotions or promotions to anyone. The idea is for a lateral transition.

Most bands will have a maximum and minimum pay range that should be similar to the one you are already in. If your current salary fits within the new band’s salary range, you will stay at the same salary and your job will just be classified with a new name. A common misconception is that if you are in the mid range of the old classification, then you will be at the mid range of the new classification. This is not true and your salary will just laterally move into the new classification range at the current level.

Reaching maximum of pay ranges

If you are at maximum of the old classification range, your pay may or may not be equal to the maximum of the new range. Your HR representative can tell you that. If you were not at maximum in the old range, but find that you are at the maximum of the new range, you should carefully look to see if that new range adequately and accurately describes what you do. If you are at maximum of any pay range, you will not get any more cost of living raises that put you above maximum. So not only should you look at the classification for its description of job duties, but also try to make sure that your compensation is not unduly limited in the future.

Part of the idea of creating new bands is for DPA to conduct follow-up maintenance studies to determine if a new classification is under-compensated, according to market trends for similar positions. So there is a chance that you can get a higher pay range through that process, but that could take years and there is no guarantee that one classification band will be looked at before another. Each new compensation plan must be approved by the legislature, so the timing can be drawn out significantly.

What if my salary exceeds the maximum in the new pay scale?

Employees will not lose pay, at least not at first. If their salary falls above what the new maximum allows, employees should receive what’s called “saved pay.” This means that their salary level would be protected, but only for three years.

What if I don’t feel my questions are being answered?

DPA is required to have “meet and confer” meetings to address questions and concerns. A schedule of your department’s meet and confer sessions is available through your HR department.

If you are being forced into a band that you do not feel is the right one, and there is another band that you feel is more appropriate, contact Pamela Cress, WINS Grievance Coordinator, to discuss a possible grievance or strategy.

Can I change the capsules?

No. You must fall within one of the new bands established by DPA.

What if I was out on leave when my new capsule was discussed?

You have the right to have input. Your HR office finalizes the capsules before everything is ratified by the legislature. If you are currently out on leave, you can call your WINS representative to ask them to advocate for you.

Does performance have anything to do with this process?

No, only as it relates to your salary and how that fits into the new classification capsules.

What if someone else doing the same duties is put into a different capsule than me?

Each position has individual duties and expectations. You have the right to ask about, and should have input during, the process by which the new bands are chosen. This includes explanations about why you might be different than a co-worker, if that is the case. You can’t challenge someone else’s plan, but you do have the right to challenge whether you think something about your own job is miscalculated.

What is Colorado WINS doing about this issue?

There will be a workshop with Pam Cress, Grievance Coordinator, to address questions people may have about the transition. The meeting will take place on March 23, 12 pm ­— 1 pm at DHS HQ (1575 Sherman St, Denver). There will be a conference call line for people who can’t make it in person. This is open to all GPs, not just those in DHS.

WINS staff will be calling through GPs to turn out to a state-wide call in the near future, but that date is TBD.

State Personnel Board Rules on saved pay:

3-7 Saved pay applies to downward movements due to individual allocation, system maintenance studies, and the annual compensation survey to maintain an employee’s current base pay when it falls above the new grade maximum. It may also apply when retention rights are exercised pursuant to the “Separation” chapter. Base pay shall be moved to the maximum at the first available opportunity that does not cause a loss in the employee’s pay. However, in no case will the employee’s base pay remain above the grade maximum after three years from the action, even if it results in a loss in pay. (2/1/07)

3-12. Downward movement is a change to a different class with a lower range maximum (e.g., nondisciplinary or disciplinary demotions, individual allocations, system maintenance studies including class placement, or the annual compensation survey).

3-13. In the case of system maintenance studies and individual allocations of positions, the employee’s base pay shall remain the same, including saved pay.

A. A department head has sole discretion to grant saved pay when employees exercise retention rights and the decision must be applied consistently throughout the retention area. If saved pay is granted, the employee’s name shall not be placed on a reemployment list. (7/1/07)

(In system maintenance studies, appointing authorities do not have the discretion not to grant saved pay.)


Have other questions?

With questions about deconsolidation beyond this FAQ, members can contact Pam Cress (, please use “GP Deconsolidation Question” as your subject line).

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