Wage Campaign

Best things about 2016

I think we can all agree, it’s been a long year.

With the national and local elections unfolding throughout the year, so many losses of influential and talented people, and so many other tragedies both on a global and local scale, most people are ready to let go of 2016.

But here at Colorado WINS we want to close the year by focusing on the positives – the accomplishments of our union brothers and sisters in their fight for quality public services, fair and equitable pay, and better conditions at state facilities for both staff and clients.

2017-COPE-summit-badgeWe will talk about our past accomplishments and our future goals at the COPE Summit, held in Denver on January 14.

If you want to be part of the decision-making process about what we will fight for next year, I encourage you to attend the COPE Summit. If you live more than 75 miles outside of Denver, you may be eligible for a hotel room.

In a year with no raises, it’s still incredible how much we were able to accomplish, legislatively, at individual work sites, and in Partnership with the state.

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2.5%: It’s a start

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…)

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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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JBC passes budget with state employee raise

It looks like for the third year in a row, Colorado state employees will see a raise in the upcoming fiscal year.

The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) just approved the state budget, known as the Long Bill, and on Friday it was introduced in the Senate, where it will be debated this week. From there, it will go to the House before being sent on to the Governor for a signature.

The JBC approved a budget which includes a 1% across-the-board increase for state workers and a 1% Merit Pay increase. This is the third consecutive year in which state employee raises have been in the Long Bill.

The bipartisan committee also supported state employees by reducing a proposed health insurance premium hike. In January, the JBC voted to lower the proposed $12.8 million premium increase for state workers by 66%, saving state workers $8.4 million that was going to come straight out of their pockets. We fought hard to make sure this lowered increase was retained in the Long Bill so that your raise would not be eaten up by rising healthcare premiums.

 

State employees fight for $15

State-employee-FF15-feat-imgOver the past few years, low wage workers across the nation have joined forces urging their lawmakers to raise the minimum wage. This week, we stood at the Capitol steps with workers from across Colorado asking our lawmakers to do the same thing.

On Monday, Colorado’s House of Representatives will hold two votes on measures that would raise the minimum wage, one for the whole state and one that would allow local governments to set a higher minimum wage than the state’s.

Did you know that it’s not just fast food, retail and home care workers who don’t make a living wage? Nearly 3000 of your state employed coworkers make $15/hour or less. If you are one of those state employees, share your story with us.

We are collecting stories of state workers who make less than $15/hour and what a raise would mean to them. If you or your coworkers make less than $15/hour, please tell us more about your situation.

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Stay engaged through COPE

The election season might be over, but our work is just beginning.

We’re gearing up for a very active legislative session where we’ll be working with the legislature toward improving working conditions, pay and benefits for all state workers.

As we do each year, we’ll be meeting with legislators during Lobby Day and other various functions to make sure they understand the value of state workers and the services they provide.

To stay active and engaged in the Political process, become a COPE member today.

The Colorado WINS Committee on Political Education (COPE) provides political education, interviews candidates based on issues relevant to state employees and educates public officials on our issues, among other activities.

COPE mobilizes members to be active in the political process. We also provide contributions to politicians who support state employees and provide information to members about candidates and their positions on such issues as healthcare, pensions, safe working conditions and other concerns that impact state workers. COPE members give endorsement recommendations to the WINS Executive Board.

To build political strength, contribute to the COPE committee today.

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Press Release: State Salary Survey demonstrates need for fairness, economic security for state workers

Friday’s release of the annual comparison of Colorado’s state workforce to their private sector counterparts, known as the Annual Compensation Report, highlights what many state workers already know: there needs to be more fairness and economic security for public employees.

“The last two years of raises have helped make up for years of falling behind, but it’s not enough if we want to keep the best and the brightest serving Colorado taxpayers,” said Colorado WINS Executive Director Tim Markham. “As the economy improves, the state is losing employees to the private sector. We need to step up and recognize the value of our public workers at correctional facilities, veterans homes, transportation facilities, and centers for the developmentally disabled across the state. Their work matters to all of us and it should be rewarded fairly.”

As the report shows on page 7, each of the state’s seven occupational groups are lagging behind the market. These occupational groups lag anywhere from 1% to 6.1% behind the market.

“For many years State workers have served the citizens of Colorado well and did not have wage increases due to the economic crisis,” said WINS member Diane Cruse from Conifer, who works at DHS. “We contributed our share to support the State, going under the private sector pay, and now that the economy has improved it is time to support us. It’s a simple matter of fairness when it comes to bring us more in line with the private sector.”

You can read more about the men and women of Colorado’s state workforce here.

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This is the union difference: the raise is here

raise-is-here-FBFor the second year in a row, Colorado WINS members secured a raise for their fellow state employees.

This was not an easy victory. The Wage Campaign, which we began last November, took us through six months of intensive work to make sure that our commitment to making Colorado a great state was appreciated.

While last year’s raise was the biggest in 5 years, the increase we fought so hard for was still slightly less than the rate of inflation. Now that our economy is recovering it is time for state workers to share in that recovery.

We need to make sure that our hard work is rewarded. The goal of our union is to create a fair economy in which public sector workers have a stable foundation on which to rely.

In times of economic insecurity, the union is our voice. The only way to make this voice heard by legislators who make the decisions about your pay and benefits is to join the fight by becoming a member. (more…)

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2014 Legislative session wrap up

For a second consecutive year, Colorado WINS members secured a raise for state employees. This year’s 2.5% across-the-board increase is an improvement over last year’s 2% and with Merit Pay some state workers will see up to a 4.5% increase starting with their July paycheck.

The budget passed with bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor on April 30. This is what happens when workers come together and rally for improved pay and benefits. Colorado WINS members are part of the only organization working to improve pay and benefits for all classified personnel.

Members have been hard at work making this raise happen. WINS members lobbied for a 3% increase, but at the last minute, the Joint Budget Committee lowered the raise to 2.5%. While this is still clearly a victory, it shows that our membership numbers greatly influence legislative outcomes. In the 11th hour, we drove hundreds of calls and emails to the JBC, urging them to reverse their decision. Envision what the raise would have been if those numbers were in the thousands!

This year’s legislative session was indeed good for state workers. Thanks to the raise, workers living in rural Colorado will boost their local economies. And since healthcare premiums held steady for another year this means that everyone will be taking home a net increase. (more…)

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Press Release: Gov Signs Budget, State Employees Get a Raise for Second Year in a Row

2.5% Base-Building Increase, 1% Merit Higher Than Last Year, Will Help State Workers Contribute To Colorado’s Economic Recovery

On Wednesday, April 30, Governor Hickenlooper signed the 2014-1015 Colorado State Budget. For the second year in a row, Colorado’s state employees will get a raise, which will help them and their families contribute to the state’s economic recovery. The 2.5% base-building raise is a half-point improvement over last year’s 2% increase. The state budget also includes a 1% merit increase and a streamlining of the state’s timekeeping system to better ensure workers are paid fairly.

“We’d like to thank the Governor and legislators for helping to keep our economy moving forward by supporting working families in Colorado,” said Tim Markham, Executive Director of Colorado WINS. “This builds on the momentum we started last year to help state employees and the communities that depend on them. State workers play a vital role in the day-to-day lives of Coloradans, providing public services and contributing to the economy. Colorado is the state’s biggest employer, and what happens to public employees has a ripple effect across the state, from Sterling to Delta. (more…)

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