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Campaigns

Support State Employees and the WINS Bill with Your Photo or Video

Yesterday was pretty important.

The Colorado House held its very first hearing on the WINS bill, legislation that would finally give state employees like us the freedom to collectively bargain a union contract. And it passed its first hurdle! We still have a long way to go, though.

We know that the WINS bill would improve Colorado’s public services and give nearly 29,000 state employees the power to better serve our communities.

With a stronger voice on the job, we can work with managers to tackle the serious issues like understaffing, low morale, and high staff turnover that are undermining the quality of public services for Coloradans — sometimes in dangerous ways.

We need to make sure that lawmakers hear our voices and know that state employees deserve a real seat at the decision-making table with our supervisors.

Show state lawmakers that you support giving state employees the opportunity for a stronger voice and a real seat at the decision-making table.

Share a photo or video now on social media. Your photo can be powerful! Show your support for the WINS bill by posting a selfie in support of the campaign.

Be sure to make your Facebook post “public” when you post so that we can see your support!

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Take action now to win better jobs and a better state

There’s no denying the crisis affecting the vital services we provide. Because of understaffing — with one in five jobs left unfilled, mandatory overtime to cover these vacancies, and low morale — communities across the state don’t receive services that are up to the standards we know how to provide.

We’re not alone, though. Last week, Rep. Daneya Esgar introduced a critically important bill — the WINS bill — that would give us the freedom to collectively bargain a union contract.

We’re on the frontlines and know best how to solve the issues facing our communities because of these crises. The WINS bill is our pathway to advancing solutions and making Colorado work for everyone.

We have just a few weeks to come together and get this bill passed. Everyone in Colorado has a stake in giving the experts — us — a real say in keeping our state running smoothly and safely.

We need everyone working together to pass the Colorado WINS bill. Here are the steps you can take right now to help:

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Sign our petition calling on lawmakers to pass the Colorado WINS bill

Take the first step to a better Colorado and add your name to our petition.

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Share your story

You see the crisis up close every day. By sharing your story, you can help make lawmakers understand how dire the situation is.

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Like Colorado WINS on Facebook

You’ll be among the first to know what’s happening, and be able to connect with other state employees and supporters.

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Share the video with coworkers, friends and family today!

WINS members like you have powerful voices. Share these videos to amplify stories like yours.

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WINS members ask legislators for greater voice on the job

Last Tuesday, nearly 50 members from across the state talked face-to-face with our senators and representatives at the Capitol about the crisis facing our state and how state workers are the key to effective solutions.

Colorado WINS members at the 2019 State Employee Lobby Day

Colorado WINS members at the 2019 State Employee Lobby Day

We told them how we’re losing experts who are taking the plunge into the private sector where they earn more, creating a vicious cycle of understaffing and forced overtime. The people of Colorado lose millions because of turnover, wasting money that could fund services they need.

We also shared the good news that public employees know how to solve these problems, but we need their support to get a seat at the table with managers and department executives to get the job done. We asked them to stand with us so we can get a voice on the job to keep Colorado running smoothly.

Members from Pueblo talked to Rep. Daneya Esgar.

Members from Pueblo talked to Rep. Daneya Esgar.

Workers from DEN International Airport and home care providers were at the capitol, too, all of us fighting for freedom to form unions, higher wages, and a voice on the job in our workplaces. We’re stronger together and when we fight, we win!

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2019 Legislative Planning Session: RSVP today

The State Capitol is where many decisions are made about how state employees are expected to do their work, the pay and benefits you will receive, and what rights we can secure. There is a lot of work to be done in 2019.

We want to know what’s important to you. Can you join us on Saturday, Jan. 12, in Colorado Springs, to set goals and expectations for the 2019 legislative session?

Some of the legislative priorities we have for 2019 include:

  • Securing an appropriate raise
  • Strengthening the Executive Order which founded our organization and ensuring state employees always have a voice in their jobs
  • Re-implementing step pay through a Predictive Pay Measure

2019-leg-planning-session-widgetAt the Planning Session we’ll talk about these goals and how we can work together, motivate our membership, and drive our members to action. But beyond our legislative goals, we’ll also talk about how to hold politicians accountable and make sure they stand up for state workers, like they committed to doing before the elections. 

We will need to see legislators’ words turn into action: introducing and passing legislation that benefits state workers and therefore the state as a whole.

So join us for the Legislative Planning Session on Saturday, Jan. 12, in Colorado Springs. Your voice is important as we set our strategy and determine our tactics. 

We know this will be a productive session for us as union members and state workers. Join us in the Springs to ensure your opinion is included in our plans.

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Mental and physical toll of work on America’s Correctional Officers

This is hardly news to Correctional Officers, but the occupational stress of working in prisons reduces life expectancy, increases heart disease, and manifests itself in higher rates of alcoholism and divorce rates. 

Below you’ll find links and excerpts of articles detailing the consequences of job stress in Correctional Officers.  (more…)

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Sunset Review of Psychiatric Technician Licensing

As required by the state, this year will trigger an automatic sunset review of the Psychiatric Technician licensing.

A sunset review is a regularly scheduled review into the regulations that govern a license and whether the regulation of such license needs to continue. This means an analyst will review information to determine whether the State Board of Nursing should continue regulating the Licensed Psychiatric Technician (LPT) program. 

Colorado WINS member believe it is crucial that LPT licenses continue to be issued, regulated, and reviewed by the State Board of Nursing, because it protects the welfare of our vulnerable population, keeps standards high for LPTs, and ensures program efficacy statewide. 

Psychiatric technicians are caregivers for mentally ill or developmentally disabled individuals who are institutionalized and are at great risk of inadequate care due to the often extreme nature of their illnesses. These patients require specialized care not necessarily available in a traditional medical setting.

LPTs work at many CDHS facilities, including the Mental Health Institutes at Pueblo and Ft. Logan, Regional Centers in Pueblo, Grand Junction, and Wheat Ridge, as well as in other state-run centers and institutes. Psychiatric Technicians fill an ongoing critical void in the health care delivery system. LPTs are uniquely equipped, through their education and license, to help the vulnerable populations they serve on their recovery journey.

The impact of not employing Licensed Psychiatric Technicians at CDHS facilities would be a substantial loss. The workload of the Registered Nurses would increase dramatically, safety and security would be greatly impacted, and patient care would suffer.

We believe the licensing of LPTs should continue to be done by the State Board of Nursing, and not be relocated under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Dept. of Human Services.

By regulating and licensing the Psychiatric Technician Licenses, the State Board of Nursing ensures the quality of patient care is optimal and remains at a high standard. Not regulating and not licensing the Psychiatric Technicians could jeopardize the health and welfare of this vulnerable population and significantly lowers the level of consumer protection.

The State Board of Nursing provides oversight of the accreditation of the educational program, examination process, and keeps licensing and regulation separate from CDHS. This is necessary to provide transparency, keep standards high, and avoid any conflicts within the department where LPTs work. 

If you would like to submit a comment about the Sunset Review of the LPT program, please click here, fill out the required information and select “Psychiatric Technicians, Regulation of – 2018” from the drop-down menu. 

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MHI direct care pays raises won

As part of the state budget, also known as the Long Bill, the legislature approved salary adjustment raises for direct care staff in the two Mental Health Institutes in Pueblo and Ft. Logan.

Almost 5 years ago nursing staff at Ft. Logan brought forward concerns about veteran staff making the same as or less than new hires. This issue had also been raised by social workers at CMHIP. From there the issue was brought to the employee management committee, the DHS Partnership team, and finally to the state legislatfivere.

union-differenceIt was WINS members, who for four long years continuing to push the issue and worked to find a solution, that made this possible.

We know this raise is just a stepping stone in fixing our state’s broken pay system. 

Other job classes, departments, and facilities are still losing valuable and experienced staff without clear mechanisms to help move staff through their salary range. WINS members are continuing to show their dedication to fixing these and other problems.

If you’re not a member of Colorado WINS, join today

Back story:

Fort Logan RNs came together in WINS to work in partnership with the Department of Human Services to address the increasing issue of compression pay at Fort Logan. This campaign expanded to CMHIP staff who were experiencing the same compression issues.

Salary compression is costing the state talented workers as pay stagnates for veteran workers while new workers come in at a higher rate. 

Last June, CMHIP members rallied outside their facility for better pay and working conditions. As we worked with DHS management, the campaign eventually encompassed all the DHS Facilities.

From the work of WINS members meeting with DHS executive management, DHS submitted a request in 2018 to the Joint Budget Committee to adjust all of the 24/7 workers’ salaries. Unfortunately, this request didn’t make it through the Joint Budget Committee into the Long Bill, which is the bill that appropriates money for the state budget including state employee pay.

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WINS members from southern Colorado with Sen. Leroy Garcia.

However, when the Long Bill got to the floor of the House, Rep. Daneya Esgar from HD 46, made an amendment for the salaries at the 2 state hospitals, Fort Logan and CMHIP, where DHS is suffering severe staffing shortages. This amendment passed the house.

It then went to the Senate where it was initially stripped out of the Long Bill. Following up on that, Sen. Leroy Garcia from SD3 and Larry Crowder from SD35 moved the same amendment Rep. Esgar made in the house and it stayed on through the third reading!

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How does semi-monthly pay compare to bi-weekly?

During the last few weeks we’ve received a lot of feedback from folks about the switch to bi-weekly or semi-monthly pay. While WINS members have been primarily focused on PERA changes and raises for state employees in the long bill, we have been sharing what information we can about this change whenever we get it. We have received some new information from the Department of Personnel and Administration about exactly how semi-monthly pay would function.

Most people believe semi-monthly pay periods (paid twice each month instead of every two weeks) would be calculated by simply splitting monthly salaries in half. While this is true for some state employees who are overtime exempt (about 35%) it is not true for anyone earning overtime. The graphs below provide examples of how pay periods and amounts would break down in a semi-monthly pay system.

Take a look at the information below as well as the DPA website about the pay switch. A bill has not been put forward yet to switch to bi-weekly pay, but there is one week left in the legislative session for this to happen. In either case, monthly pay will no longer be an option by the end of this year.

If you still have questions or concerns submit them here.

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WINS Members’ Work on Your Next Check!

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The work that WINS members did to secure a raise for state employees will be in your next check.  Members’ efforts will be felt by all state employees as that put that extra bit into the bank this month.  Numerous postcards, calls and conversations with legislators helped deliver a decent raise in a time of a not-so-decent economic forecast.  If you are already a member, make your union stronger by asking your coworkers to join.  If you aren’t a member, thank a member by joining today.  When we stand together, we win.

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Open enrollment runs until May 15

If you’re looking to make changes to your healthcare plan for the upcoming fiscal year, your chance to do so starts today. 

Colorado’s open enrollment starts today and runs through May 15, 2017.

open-enrollmentOpen enrollment period is the one time of year when workers can make changes to their Health/Life/Dental policies.

If you are happy with your coverage, you do not need to make any changes, your current plan choices will roll over into the next plan year, unless you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). 

If you hava a FSA or would like to make changes to your coverage, you have until May 15 to make updates your plan. 

Please note: open enrollment at the University of Colorado (all campuses) runs through May 12. 

It appears that only CU has its own Open Enrollment deadline, but if you work at a higher education institution, please check with your Human Resources department to make sure you don’t miss the deadline for healthcare coverage. 

Health & Dental premiums

Three of the four available healthcare plans have had changes to the premiums cost: two are increasing slightly and one is decreasing. There are no changes to the cost of the dental plan premiums. 

You can see the cost differences in the matrix on the right. healthcare premium rate comparison 16-17 vs 17-18 matrix

You have until May 15 to make changes to your healthcare plan, so take a moment to review your options today.

If you have any questions about open enrollment or benefit plans, please contact your department’s benefit administrator (link at the very bottom of the page). 

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