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.
Some of the legislative priorities we have for 2019 include:
At 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.
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.
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.
It 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) has reached a deal on raises for state employees. Budget writers agreed on a 1.75% across-the-board increase with an additional 0.75% in Merit Pay increases, for a total of 2.5% raise.
While this increase is small, this is the first time in more than a decade that Colorado’s classified state employees will receive a raise in a year when the state is facing a deficit.
The revenue forecast for Fiscal Year 2017/18 comes in at nearly $400 million short of what is needed to cover current levels of spending. The JBC had to make major cuts to a number of spending areas, including K-12 education ($75 million), transportation ($110 million), and hospitals ($264 million from the General Fund, which results in a total loss of more than half a billion dollars, after the federal government matches state funds).
In fact, the $48.8 million for state employee raises was one of the few areas of additional funding in next year’s budget, which also included $4.7 million to hire additional 60 employees in the Div. of Youth Corrections.
This raise comes as a result of months of hard work from Colorado WINS members. (more…)
From Executive Director Tim Markham:
Just about six weeks ago, I met with the Governor’s Chief of Staff and Budget Director to set out what we believed was a fair compensation strategy for Colorado’s most valued resource: state employees. I asked for a 6% raise (with additional funding for occupational groups even further behind the market) and a $15/hour minimum wage for all state employees.
This was exactly one day before a negative budget forecast slashed our best hopes at achieving all I set out for the Governor. The forecast showed a gap of nearly $330 million for this fiscal year alone, and a gap of even more than that in FY 2017/18.
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, the Governor’s office released its annual budget request and, as we expected, it reflects the reality of a state still held hostage to TABOR.
September’s negative budget forecast has led to a number of proposed cuts to all areas of the state budget, including transportation, higher education and hospitals.
Fortunately, one of the few areas where additional money is being invested is state employee compensation.
The Governor has proposed $48.8 million toward a 2.5% across-the-board increase for all classified state workers, $20.8 million toward increases in H/L/D premiums, and to “continue the State’s commitment to cover 80% of these insurance premium costs.” (more…)
From Executive Director Tim Markham
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:
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…)
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…)