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Join our 2021 Lobby Brigade!

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Colorado WINS Stands with Our AAPI Family

 

Colorado WINS Stands with Our AAPI Family

We are deeply saddened and angered by the fatal shootings in Atlanta on March 16th. We must have the difficult conversations around the history of anti-Asian racism, how it shows up in our circles today, and what actions we need to take to put an end to Asian hate. We stand in solidarity with the AAPI community and condemn Tuesday night’s violence and all acts of hatred. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been nearly 4,000 reported incidents of physical, verbal, and online attacks against Asian Americans. We can no longer let the calls for justice go unanswered. Tuesday 9 people were attacked and 6 of the victims were Asian women. This is no mistake. 

As Coloradans, we remember the Amache Camp that opened here in 1942 to imprison over 7,000 Japanese-Americans. We’ve seen what happens when fear and uncertainty drive our decisions and a hateful few divide us against each other based on the color of our skin.

The victims of these attacks were just like us – they were working during a pandemic to provide for their families and build a better life for themselves. Since the beginning of the pandemic, certain politicians have scapegoated the Asian community for their own failed policies and greed. Their attacks have led to a rise in violence against Asian people like the shootings in Atlanta. We must come together to condemn this violence and call on elected leaders to represent all of us and create a world where we all live free and safe. 

AAPI members have served as essential workers on the front lines of this crisis as healthcare providers, as first responders, and in other essential roles and they need to be protected against hate and racist violence. Our AAPI brothers and sisters have risen to denounce hate crimes and stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

We must continue the fight for dignity for all workers and to end racism in all of its forms. Together, we make the way for a Colorado that let’s all of us thrive – no matter what we look like.

For those in need of support, we encourage you to reach out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness by texting NAMI to 741-741.

We also wanted to offer other resources and encourage others on this list to do the same:

 

 

If you have other resources to share or ideas on how our community can activate our skills to end this senseless violence we welcome you to share. 

 

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State Budget Should Prioritize Investment in the People Providing Critical Public Services

For Immediate Release
March 19, 2021

State Budget Should Prioritize Investment in the People Providing Critical Public Services

 

With Quarterly Forecast’s Positive Outlook, State Employees Urge Budget Writers to Begin to Address Decades of Underinvestment in Critical Services

 

(Pueblo, CO) – Colorado WINS Executive Director Hilary Glasgow issued the following statement after the quarterly budget forecast release:

“It’s a relief to hear that Colorado’s economy is doing better than predicted and that our state revenues did not take as great of a hit as we expected. But recovery is a long way off for many people, including state employees who continue to tirelessly address the consequences of the pandemic. 

“The pandemic brought to light inadequacies and inherent inequality in our systems, and it’s up to our state’s budget writers to prioritize the things that matter: high quality government services delivered by people whose work keeps our communities healthy and safe. Demand for these services is higher than ever. Yet last year, budget writers cut more than $3 billion preparing for economic devastation as a result of the pandemic. That was on top of decades of underfunding and cuts to state services that came as a result of tax cuts and handouts to corporations and the wealthy. 

“Colorado’s state workforce is already 23 percent smaller than it was in 2010, if population growth is taken into account. That’s why so many programs Coloradans rely on are understaffed and overwhelmed. For example, more and more Coloradans facing eviction are seeking rental assistance, but a backlog of applications means people are waiting as much as eight weeks for rental assistance.

“Even before the pandemic, our state already had a long-standing tax problem, thanks to the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR), which passed in 1992 and established one of the strictest revenue and spending limits in the nation. This means critical services in Colorado have been woefully underfunded for decades, despite the state’s population boom.

 “This year, legislators are hoping our state budget can go back to normal. But that  ‘normal’ short-changed working people long before the pandemic. Instead, we need to respect, protect, and pay the people who kept Colorado running through this crisis, by ensuring a significant investment from the state’s general fund and dedicating money from the federal stimulus package to support public services Coloradans need and the public employees providing them.  

“What a year ago seemed unsurmountable — making progress toward beating this virus and recovering from the recession — has been accomplished with the help of dedicated public employees who put themselves and their families at risk to create stronger communities for all Coloradans. I hope legislators put working families first in our budget, because the people who keep our communities running should be valued and their work should be funded.”

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 Colorado WINS is the union representing more than 28,000 classified state employees who work to ensure our quality of life in communities across the state and provide essential services to more than 5.6 million Coloradans.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 17, 2021

Contact: Olga Robak

Bipartisan Legislative Leaders Work to Address Role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers in Driving Up Drug Costs with Innovative Approach to State Contracting 

Business and Labor Leaders Come Together to Support PBM Reverse Auction That Could Help Colorado Save Millions Annually

Watch the full recording here

(Denver, CO) —  Today, a diverse group of Colorado leaders announced that they will be seeking to help the state and its taxpayers save millions each year through a new, competitive process to determine how Colorado contracts with its Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM). According to initial estimates, this process would save the state between $6.7 million – $8.9 million annually

PBMs are companies that manage the prescription drug benefit for public and private health plans, negotiating rebates with drug manufacturers, and establishing reimbursement rates paid to pharmacies for filling prescriptions. Sponsored by Representatives Susan Lontine and Janice Rich and Senators Dominick Moreno and Barbara Kirkmeyer, the “Competitive Pharmacy Benefits Manager Marketplace” bill will establish a modernized, transparent, and dynamic process for PBMs to compete over their cost to win for contracts with the state of Colorado. 

“A PBM reverse auction creates a transparent marketplace where PBMs compete with each other to win award of a state contract by bidding over multiple rounds to provide the benefits we want at the lowest price,” said Representative Susan Lontine (HD 1 – Denver/Jefferson counties). “Our bill introduces dynamic competition to the PBM bidding process, deploying cutting edge technology to enable apples-to-apples comparison of the cost to the state of each PBM’s pricing proposal. This policy has proven to be incredibly successful, and several states have enacted similar laws. We want to get the same type of savings for Colorado, not just to bounce back from this economic recession but to ensure Coloradans get the best deal possible for the money they spend on their prescription drugs.”

“This legislation will make sure that PBMs in Colorado are held accountable for the promises they have made to the state. When we require PBMs to bid against one other over cost for providing our benefits, everyone wins” said Representative Janice Rich (HD 55 – Mesa County). “While this bill will initially apply to proposals the state solicits for state employee prescription plans, we hope that over time county, municipal, and private employers will also be able to take advantage of this reverse auction process.”

“Health care costs are outrageous for both consumers and business owners, and this policy would significantly lower the cost of doing business in Colorado. It’s the right time for PBM reform and this policy will create savings by introducing competition into the system,” said Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer. “This bill will meaningfully bring down costs and make sure taxpayer money is wisely spent. It brings an innovative, free-market approach that yields significant savings for Colorado taxpayers by creating competition between PBMs and passing the savings through to the consumer and taxpayers.”

“We have an opportunity to address the way in which our state contracts with its pharmacy benefit manager,” said Senator Dominick Moreno (SD 21 – Adams County), a sponsor of the bill who was not present for the event. “Colorado could see significant savings from this legislation, which is great for taxpayers, the health of Coloradans, and our state’s bottom line.”

The PBM Accountability Project of Colorado is working to educate Coloradans about the role PBMs play in driving up out-of-pocket prescription drug costs and advocate for bipartisan solutions such as the PBM reverse auction that hold PBMs accountable for delivering the value Colorado patients and taxpayers deserve. The coalition is made up of a broad group of organizations, including American Federation of Teachers, Americans for Prosperity, the Bell Policy Center, Colorado AFL-CIO, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, Colorado Rising Action, Colorado WINS, and Healthier Colorado. 

“For years, state employees have watched their pay and benefits drop far below what people in other industries make. This bill would reduce some of that pressure and make sure our public employees are getting the savings they were promised by PBMs,” said Hilary Glasgow, Executive Director of Colorado WINS, the union that represents state employees. “Consumers face an unfair disadvantage as PBMs work behind the scenes to exploit the system to increase their profits, while out-of-pocket costs remain unnecessarily high. The PBM Reverse Auction has the potential to capture millions in savings for the state.” 

To learn more about the PBM Accountability Project of Colorado, click here.

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The PBM Accountability Project of Colorado comprises a broad coalition of leaders and stakeholders across the state, including business organizations, health policy non-profits, labor unions, and patient advocates. Our mission is to restore prescription drug savings for Colorado patients and purchasers and assure affordability for patients, working families, business and employee groups, taxpayers, our government, and communities across Colorado.

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President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Provides Desperately-Needed Relief for Colorado Families, Essential Services Our Communities Need

For Immediate Release
March 11, 2021


President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Provides Desperately-Needed Relief for Colorado Families, Essential Services Our Communities Need

Positive Step Toward Recovery, But Incomplete Without a $15 Minimum Wage

Pueblo, CO – As President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, Colorado WINS Executive Director Hilary Glasgow issued the following statement:  

“As public employees continue working tirelessly to address the consequences of the pandemic, President Biden signed an American Rescue Plan that will provide desperately-needed relief for Colorado families and the essential services our communities need now and into the future.

“President Biden’s plan will finally get money flowing into our communities — including in excess of $14 billion for Colorado. Now it’s time for Governor Polis and our state legislators to commit to investing in the essential employees getting us through this pandemic. That means respecting, protecting and paying the people who provide the essential services keeping Colorado running throughout this crisis — in many cases, at great personal risk to themselves and their families.

“We need to invest in the services delivered by people like Jessica, who works in the Department of Labor and Employment, where there are 323 empty positions. She helps protect Coloradans on the job and while they’re searching for employment, but without proper resources she can’t do her job effectively. When state employees struggle to do their jobs, all of Colorado suffers. 

“With this relief on the way, we need targeted investment into public services and the communities we serve — especially Black, Latino, Asian, Native, and immigrant communities that have been hit hardest by this pandemic, by becoming ill, dying, and losing jobs at higher rates than white Coloradans.

“To help our state respond to the COVID-19 crisis, the rescue plan establishes a U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps to bolster public health infrastructure — including contact tracing that reaches every community in America and new investment in the public health workforce.

“While the American Rescue Plan is a strong first step towards real relief for working families, there’s much more work still to be done. A full recovery won’t happen without a $15 minimum wage that lifts people across the country and in Colorado out of poverty. Working families across Colorado voted for transformative change and we will keep fighting for it. We hope Senators Hickenlooper and Bennet will champion the “Raise the Wage Act” among their colleagues when it reaches the Senate.”

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Colorado WINS is the union representing more than 28,000 classified state employees who work to ensure our quality of life in communities across the state and provide essential services to more than 5.6 million Coloradans.

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To recover from the pandemic, Colorado must invest directly in the workers who are getting us through it

To recover from the pandemic, Colorado must invest directly in the workers who are getting us through it

Author: Angelika Stedman, Registered Nurse

For nearly a year, Coloradans have faced unprecedented threats to the health of our communities. Throughout it all, essential workers have gotten us through the worst of the pandemic and are keeping our communities and economy going. Many of those frontline workers are Colorado’s state employees, who work tirelessly to fulfill our commitment to the health of everyone in our community. Although you may not see the behind the scenes work state employees perform daily, we provide critical services keeping people in every one of Colorado’s 64 counties fed, clean, safe, and healthy. 

Unfortunately, chronic understaffing, low pay, and eroding benefits have caused many experienced and talented state employees to leave the jobs they love and seek out other job opportunities to provide for their families. In fact, state employees are paid, on average, 16.4% less than employees in similar sectors, a gap that has been steadily growing each year, even in times of economic prosperity.

This trend has been made even worse by the demands the pandemic has placed on the people taking care of Coloradans. I work as a psychiatric registered nurse at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP). For years, CMHIP has struggled to attract and retain talented and qualified employees, which hurts the very patients we work to serve (the turnover rate in Colorado’s Dept. of Human Services was 23.1% in FY 17/18, 28.3% in FY 18/19, and 23.4% in 19/20, one of the highest in the entire state). CMHIP is one of two inpatient, behavioral health service hospitals operated by the state that aid individuals with mental health screenings, substance abuse issues, and other mental health issues.

Low pay and increased workloads mean  state employees must work overtime or double shifts to try to provide the services Coloradans need. The demanding nature of our work compounds the problem, leading to staff exhaustion and compromising the safety of our fellow employees and our clients. When dedicated employees are incentivized to look for employment elsewhere, Colorado’s vulnerable populations are left in even more precarious conditions. CMHIP isn’t alone. Chronic low staffing plagues state employees across departments, with 1 in 5 state positions vacant. We’re just one example of how our community is impacted by lack of investment in public services.

But state employees like me are hoping the coronavirus pandemic has taught us one thing: to recover from this global emergency we must invest in the essential workers who got us through it. Last year, state employees won our right to collectively bargain a contract with the state. This year, we will use our new opportunity to reimagine how we drive investment into jobs and essential services that serve Colorado communities. That means making sure frontline workers have a voice on the job when it comes to changing how public services are funded and delivered. In our contract negotiations, we will be advocating for filling the vacancies which lead to unsafe staffing levels, raising wages to ensure people working for the state can support their families and that Colorado can retain employees, and improving benefits like leave and insurance options. 

But while we negotiate a contract for a better future, we need immediate federal investment in public services. The American Rescue Plan, President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief proposal, includes $350 billion dollars earmarked for state and local governments. These funds could help decrease the pressure state employees have been feeling since the coronavirus pandemic and allow for a much-needed breath of relief, but only if we ensure that money is invested in the working people of Colorado who have carried us through the pandemic.

I hope Colorado legislators and other elected leaders will join us in calling on Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper to vote to send federal aid back home. I also hope our legislators invest that money in Colorado’s working people, including state employees who have been on the frontlines of the response. Our work has kept Colorado from plunging deeper into a crisis and lawmakers will have a chance this legislative session to acknowledge that by ensuring public services are prioritized for funding. 

The ability to work hands-on with patients at CMHIP is one of the joys of being a state employee, and seeing patients enter back into society after rehabilitation is one of the most rewarding parts of my career. However, seeing my fellow coworkers struggle because of low pay, depleted morale, or fearing for their physical safety is heartbreaking. We can and we must do better by the people who are answering the call to this crisis and the people who depend on the critical work we do. Right now, we need federal aid to shore up public services and beat back this pandemic. But in the long-run, Colorado’s elected leaders must commit to investing in essential services to make them sustainable and be better prepared for future crises. 

Angelika Stedman is a Registered Nurse who has worked at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP) for three years. She is a member of Colorado WINS, the union representing state employees, and was elected to serve on the bargaining committee negotiating for a new contract for state employees.

 

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 Copy of Copy of Yellow and Black Work Safety is Our Priority Circle Sticker
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Fight for $15 Call-In Day

House Democrats are finalizing the details of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue package to get relief to Americans as the country continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The House is expected to vote on the bill during the week of Feb. 22, and the Senate is expected to vote the following week. To put pressure on Congress to pass this desperately needed federal relief, and make sure the needs of essential workers and state employees are front and center, there will be an SEIU wide Call-in Day on February 23 to generate calls to Senators demanding they pass the relief bill. Together, let’s make sure Congress Respects Us, Protects Us, and Pays Us!

 

Union members like you are calling in from across the country. But we know our senators here in Colorado need to hear from us directly.

All you need to do is call: 1-844-558-0130, and you will be connected to your Senator’s office where you can leave a message. They need to know that we need relief NOW as we keep Colorado running on the frontlines. Thank you!

 

My name is [NAME] and I am a [INSERT Job Title] from [City or county]. [Line about the work you do and why it’s important during pandemic]. If the Senate does not pass significant aid to our cities, towns and schools, families will continue to suffer. Colorado needs federal relief to fill jobs to continue the critical services people rely on and to rebuild our economy more equitably so that we can support all of our families and communities. It’s time for the Senate to Respect Us, Protect us, and Pay Us.

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State Employees Begin Union Contract Negotiations to Improve Delivery of State Services to Coloradans

For Immediate Release
January 25, 2021
Contact: Olga Robak (719-545-0677)

 

State Employees Begin Union Contract Negotiations to Improve Delivery of State Services to Coloradans

Denver, CO – Today, members of Colorado WINS, the union that represents state employees, will begin their first contract negotiation meeting with the State of Colorado. Over the next several months, state employees will negotiate for a contract that drives state investment into jobs and essential services that best serve Colorado communities and helps retain the experts who make Colorado run.

“It’s time to reimagine how we provide essential services in a way that ensures everyone in our neighborhoods can thrive, no matter who we are, where we’re from, or the color of our skin,” said Skip Miller, an Information Technology employee at the Colorado School of Mines and the President of Colorado WINS. “State employees finally have a seat at the table and a voice on the job to improve our working conditions, create family-sustaining jobs, and improve how our state provides services to all Coloradans. By coming together in union, we have the best chance to put workers at the center of economic recovery.”

Though many work behind the scenes, state employees have kept Colorado running throughout the coronavirus pandemic, making sure Colorado families have access to the vital services they need. But public employees’ response to the pandemic is complicated by the fact that years of budget cuts have thinned staff, depleted critical equipment, created unsafe working conditions, and hampered planning for emergencies like this one. 

“We now know that what used to be considered ‘normal’ does not work for the communities most impacted by COVID-19 — where working people have to risk our lives and our families’ health to earn a paycheck. Our economic recovery will only be successful if we invest in the services and the people who make our state run,” said Angelika Stedman, a nurse at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP). “So many front line workers, including state employees like me, are living paycheck to paycheck, barely able to make ends meet, while billionaires continue to rake in money, even in a pandemic, and fail to pay their fair share for the public services we need. For more than a decade, CMHIP has struggled to attract and retain qualified staff to work with our state’s most vulnerable populations, including those with mental illness and substance abuse problems. We need our state to invest in people and make sure corporations take responsibility for the health of the communities they depend on.”

Colorado’s state employees are committed to creating communities where people who work for a living can support their families, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive — with quality public services and safe, healthy neighborhoods — and where Coloradans have confidence that our state can face future crises with fewer unnecessary deaths, economic devastation and tragedy.  

“No one is more concerned about preparedness and quality services than state employees, who are putting themselves at risk to serve our communities. For all Colorado communities to thrive, we need a greater investment in public services so our state can recover from years of underfunding that have hurt families across Colorado. While we are grateful the Biden administration has proposed direct investment into state and local governments in the next coronavirus relief package, we must ensure that money is invested into the people helping us recover from the pandemic,” said Hilary Glasgow, Executive Director of Colorado WINS. “As Colorado’s largest employer, the State sets the tone for how all Colorado workers are treated. We are optimistic that our negotiations will ensure that we invest in our communities for the long term, by reimagining how we fund public services.”

Elected Colorado WINS members will serve as bargaining team representatives who will meet with representatives from the State of Colorado to negotiate the contract. The deadline for contract ratification is in October 2021 and any fiscal obligations must be approved by the legislature in the 2022 session. State employees secured the right to collectively bargain their contract through legislation passed in the 2020 session. 

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Colorado WINS is the union representing more than 28,000 classified state employees who work to ensure our quality of life in communities across the state and provide essential services to more than 5.6 million Coloradans.

 

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Biden Inauguration 2021

As Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 47th President of the United States of America, Colorado WINS released the following statement:

From the primaries to inauguration day, Colorado WINS members united to put the demands of working people front and center. We held member town halls to question candidates, endorsed people who would fight for working people like us, made thousands of calls, send tens of thousands of texts — all during a pandemic. Our hard work lifted the needs of essential workers into the spotlight and helped elect Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President. 

We finally have an administration that will work for us — fighting for $15 min wage, #unionsforall, racial justice & for an end to COVID. Together we can make the way for a new Colorado, one with robust public services that keep our air and water clean, our roads safe and clear, and our communities safe and healthy. 

Let’s celebrate the new chapter of our history and gear up to hold the new administration accountable. We are ready to make sure this administration will prioritize and invest in us and make it easier for all Americans to join unions.

 

 

Colorado WINS is the union representing more than 28,000 classified state employees who work to ensure our quality of life in communities across the state and provide essential services to more than 5.6 million Coloradans.

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