In the news

In the news: Speaking for the laborers on Labor Day

Alamosa Valley Courier | Sept. 6, 2016 | Letter to the editor: Speaking for the laborers on Labor Day

This Labor Day, I am grateful for my job at the Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake, which provides me with good benefits. I make a living wage and have paid days off to spend time with my loved ones. But I, like many other state employees who work in 24/7 facilities, will be working on Labor Day.

Fortunately for me, I only need one job to make ends meet, but for too many working people that simply isn’t the case.

Many Coloradans will spend this Labor Day working a second or third job, desperately trying to make enough money to pay rent and afford groceries. They are forced to rely on minimum wage jobs that do not cover the most basic of living expenses. Instead of spending time with their families on Sundays and holidays, they are working to pay the bills. (more…)

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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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In the news: Ruling: Auraria Higher Ed Center discriminated against workers

Colorado Independent, May 18, 2016 | Ruling: Auraria Higher Ed Center discriminated against workers

The Auraria Higher Education Center, the group overseeing the universities housed on Denver’s Auraria Campus, discriminated against Latino janitors based on their national origin, according to a decision from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

[…] In total, 12 employees wrote letters to the EEOC alleging the workplace had English-only policies, a violation of federal equal opportunity law, among other charges. (more…)

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In the News: Wisconsin’s new civil service law mirrors CO’s Amendment S

Route Fifty, April 10, 2016 | Wisconsin Awaits Implementation of Scott Walker’s Civil Service Reform Law

A controversial overhaul of procedures used to hire and fire state employees in Wisconsin is set to take place this July.

The changes will go into effect under Wisconsin’s Act 150, which Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed in February. Among other policy modifications, the law will shift hiring away from civil service exams, toward a system based on applicants’ resumes, and will base layoffs primarily on performance, lessening the influence of seniority over whether a person keeps their job.

Proponents say the changes will speed up hiring and make it easier for agencies to cull poor performers and bad apples from their ranks. Critics argue the new law opens the door for political patronage and other forms of favoritism to sway who gets state jobs. And some say it makes it easier for supervisors in Wisconsin agencies to arbitrarily punish employees. (more…)

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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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In the news: Why I’m proud to be a union woman

Pueblo Chieftain, March 26, 2016 | Why I’m proud to be a union woman by Patty Moore, Colorado WINS President

March is Women’s History Month. It’s also the month on which falls Lobby Day for Colorado WINS, the union representing Colorado’s 30,000 state employees.

As president of Colorado WINS, I’m proud to represent the state’s hardworking public servants, and I’m proud to be a union woman and a leader in a movement that fights for better pay and working conditions for all of our public employees. In unity there is strength.

Colorado’s public servants are truly a cross-section of our state. Colorado WINS represents workers from all parts of Colorado helping all kinds of Coloradans get ahead. We are corrections officers, child support enforcement workers, juvenile justice counselors, caregivers for our veterans and the developmentally disabled and protectors of Colorado’s natural resources.

And we never close — many of our employees work holidays and overnights to protect public safety and public infrastructure. (more…)

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In the news: Rough week for DOC

You may have seen the Department of Corrections pop up in the news these past few days, we certainly did. The Denver Post has published two stories detailing some questionable practices by the department.

The first story concerned a $280,000 settlement with a whistle-blower at DOC headquarters. These payouts can be disheartening to officers as they see money going out that could have been spent on making facilities safer. Even more concerning are the allegations against DOC. The former director of DOC’s Office of Planning and Analysis alleged the department was falsifying figures about the number of mentally ill people in solitary confinement and the number of inmates released from solitary directly back into their communities. She also alleged that DOC simply renamed programs they are trying to phase out in order for their numbers to match their reports.

The second story details the (more…)

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Press Release: WINS joins Senators in calling on CDOT to release US-36 road contract info

Colorado WINS is joining a group of Colorado State Senators in calling on the Colorado Department of Transportation to put the brakes on a pending 50-year contract for the US-36 toll road with an Australian company, the Plenary Group, and release information about the proposed deal to taxpayers before signing any contract.

Colorado WINS submitted an open records request, also known as a CORA, in 2013 and was refused access to any of the responses to CDOT’s Request for Proposal and any drafts of the contract.

“This is a huge undertaking with enormous financial impact on taxpayers for decades, and the process has been kept as far out of public view as possible,” said WINS Executive Director Tim Markham. “CDOT owes policy makers and the public some answers about this deal and shouldn’t be signing away 50 years of maintenance and revenue in secret. These so-called “public-private partnerships” have turned out to be terrible deals for taxpayers across the country, including Chicago and Orange County. Coloradans deserve to have their voices heard before CDOT acts.” (more…)

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Are we running a state or a fast food chain?

On Thursday, the Denver Post editorial board published a brief but disingenuous editorial that can only fairly be described as a declaration of war against Colorado’s middle class vis-à-vis Colorado’s state employees.

At issue, ostensibly, is the 3% pay raise that state employees have been advocating for since last fall and which was given temporary approval by the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee on Monday.

But really the issue goes well beyond state employees – this is an issue of whether Colorado is going to have an economy that works for the middle-class. This is about whether or not Colorado policymakers are going to lead on the issue of income inequality or whether they’re going to perpetuate economic stagnation for Colorado’s middle-class. The Post has clearly chosen the side of economic stagnation for the majority of Coloradans and now the question is which side are our elected leaders on?

The Post blithely states that the 3% raise plus average merit pay comes with an $88 million price tag. That number is presented without any citation or context in a deliberate attempt to stoke maximal outrage. The Post neglects to mention that the governor’s budget request is for $58.5 million in salary and merit pay funds, a request they seem to endorse when stating, “It’s not a question of whether state workers deserve a pay hike.”

So fully 2/3rds of what the Post insinuates is an extreme and untenable financial outlay had already been requested by the governor and is endorsed by the Post. Let us assume, arguendo, that the Post’s completely uncited $88 million figure is correct. The governor’s total budget request for 2014/15 is $21.9 billion dollars – $88 million dollars is just 0.4% of that total budget. If 30,000 middle-class workers aren’t worth 0.4% of our budget then what are they worth? (more…)

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