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Tag Archives: front recent

PRESS RELEASE: State Employees Celebrate Senator Leroy Garcia’s Victory over Recall Effort

Pueblo, CO – Today, the recall campaign against Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) failed to deliver enough petition signatures to initiate a recall election. The news marks Colorado Republicans’ fifth attempt in 2019 to recall an elected official, none of which were successful. 

Executive Director of Colorado WINS Hilary Glasgow issued the following statement about the attempted recall.

“State employees, especially those who live in Pueblo, are thrilled to hear the recall attempt against Senator Garcia has failed. Senator Garcia has been a steadfast champion of workers’ rights, he was duly elected by the people of Pueblo, and he is the right leader for our part of Colorado and the Senate. He has worked hard on behalf of state employees, sponsoring the collective bargaining bill introduced during the 2019 session and standing up against anti-union attacks in the legislature. 

This recall attempt was a cynical effort to undo our democratic process. Senator Garcia won his last election with 73 percent of the vote, which should have made it abundantly clear to the recall campaign that Pueblo residents resoundingly want him in office. We’re glad this misguided and divisive tactic meant to undermine the will of the voters in Pueblo has failed. 

In his tenure at the legislature, Senator Garcia has tirelessly stood up for Pueblo and we had no doubt he would defeat this disingenuous recall attempt. State employees have stood strong in support of Senator Garcia and we will continue to hold him up as a champion for workers in both the public and private sectors.”

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PRESS RELEASE: As Denver City Council divests from for-profit community corrections, DOC workers emphasize need to address internal Corrections staffing issues first

In light of a recent Denver City Council vote to stop contracting with for-profit prison and community corrections operators, a 23-year veteran of the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) testified on Monday in front of a legislative committee about retention and staffing problems already challenging the department.

“Correctional facilities across Colorado are understaffed, which means there are fewer case workers, mental health employees, teachers, and officers to administer programs and work with offenders,” said Eric Olsen, a sergeant with DOC and a member of state employee union Colorado WINS. “This makes employees tired and overworked, which in turn makes our work environment more dangerous.” 

Eric-Olsen-Testimony-8-12-19Olsen asked the committee to lean on DOC employees as a resource and to establish a strong partnership among the workers, the legislature, and the Department. 

“We need to find a way for the city and the state to work together with input from DOC frontline staff, who will be tasked with carrying out any plans this committee passes,” Olsen said. “I ask that as you formulate a plan that allows for the government to operate community corrections, you include current Corrections employees in your discussions. DOC workers need a strong partnership with our Department, but we also need a strong partnership with our legislators.” 

In a statement, Colorado WINS Executive Director Hilary Glasgow stressed the importance of addressing DOC staffing issues through a collaborative process with direct input from state employees.  

“It is absolutely critical that in tandem with any program reform, the state directly addresses the staffing crisis we are facing,” Glasgow said “Frontline employee input in any departmental policy change is crucial to ensure a well-intentioned policy can be faithfully executed, but state workers don’t feel respected or viewed as a valuable source. “

The Prison Population Management Interim Study Committee focused on various aspects of what drives recidivism and included state legislators, district attorneys, criminal justice reform advocates, and state officials. 

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PRESS RELEASE: State Employees Link Rising Recidivism Rates to Severe Staffing Shortage at State Correctional Facilities

Denver, CO — On Monday, state employees on the front lines in the Department of Corrections pointed to severe understaffing and hazardous working conditions as major factors affecting recidivism rates, during testimony before the Prison Population Management Interim Study Committee.

“Everyone sitting here today believes reforms are needed in Corrections, and state employees like me want to be a resource,” said Eric Olsen, a sergeant at the Department of Corrections. “First and foremost, we need a stable and professional workforce that cares about the successful reintegration of offenders into society. To do this, we need a strong partnership with the state so that our input, our advice, and the solutions we come up with can be of maximum usefulness as we navigate through systemic changes to corrections.”

In her testimony, Colorado WINS Executive Director Hilary Glasgow emphasized the dire need to increase staffing and compensation to ensure the department can attract and retain qualified and dedicated employees.

“It is absolutely critical that in tandem with any program reform, the state directly addresses the staffing crisis we are facing – specifically in DOC,” Glasgow said. “Currently, DOC has to realign staff in a dangerous and unproductive way. Case managers are being asked to teach, and teachers are being asked to cover officer shifts and supervise inmates. As I talked to some of the teachers about this, they consistently said they don’t have the training to capably cover officer shifts, but that they do it anyway because it is DOC’s only option.”

As a teacher at Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, Nadine Kerstetter has firsthand experience helping inmates prepare for life outside the detention facility.

“We want to be able to do our best by the people who come through our doors,” Kerstetter said, “but we need the tools necessary to accomplish whatever goals this committee lays out. The higher-than-average recidivism rates in Colorado are linked to the disintegrating numbers of staff. When staffing falls through the cracks, everything follows – including the success rates of the incarcerated population.”

The interim committee focused on various aspects of what drives recidivism and included state legislators, district attorneys, criminal justice reform advocates, and state officials.

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Colorado WINS is the union representing nearly 30,000 classified state employees who work to ensure our quality of life in communities across the state.

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PRESS RELEASE: State Employee Union Executive Director Welcomes BLM Employees to Colorado

With the news of the Bureau of Land Management relocating its headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado WINS Executive Director Hilary Glasgow issued the following statement:

“I am pleased to see so much support from the public and our elected officials for the relocation of the BLM headquarters to Colorado. I want to welcome the dozens of public employees who are relocating here from Washington, DC, and I’m thrilled to hear that our counterparts in the federal government will call Grand Junction home.

“I also want to recognize what others, including Sen. Cory Gardner, Rep. Scott Tipton and Gov. Jared Polis, have already said: the federal employees coming to Grand Junction are going to provide a significant economic boost to the area by diversifying the economy and boosting wages. Public employees are indeed a crucial part of any local economy and Coloradans benefit from the work of public employees on all levels of government.

“That’s why we call on our elected officials to invest in our public employees, whether they are at the state, county, municipal, or federal level. People who work for the state dedicate their lives to improving our communities, providing necessary services to our most vulnerable neighbors, and making Colorado the best state in our nation. In return, we ask that the state keep its promises by allowing all employees to make a decent living, spend time with our families, and retire with dignity.

“Meanwhile, one in five state jobs in Colorado is open, the salaries of state employees are nine percent behind private sector on average, and workers have no channels to talk directly to management to improve the services they deliver. We need to appreciate our state workers the same way we appreciate the BLM employees who will soon call Colorado home: by recognizing their important work and valuing their economic and policy contributions to our society.”

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Colorado State Employee Spotlight: Shannon Wilson

Shannon Wilson is today’s stand-out Colorado state employee. She’s a medical records technician at Trinidad Correctional Facility — and a whole lot more.

 

Shannon Wilson is a medical records technician at Trinidad Correctional Facility — and a whole lot more.

Shannon Wilson, Department of Corrections

A Colorado State Employee Going Above and Beyond

“When she’s gone, we recognize she’s gone,” said co-worker Pauline Boyd when interviewed about why she nominated Shannon for a state employee shout-out.

That’s because Shannon doesn’t just perform duties of a medical records technician for which she’s paid. Her job classification is one of the lowest paid positions in the Department of Corrections, but she also helps by doing additional work to assist nurses and make their jobs easier, since the facility is not fully staffed.

“What makes her so amazing is that she still comes to work every day with a smile on her face and does an amazing job,” continued Boyd. “Although she literally doesn’t get paid for it.”

In fact, Shannon is effectively performing the duties of four positions.

She helps ensure that providers have what they need to care for offenders experiencing health issues. And, because of her efforts, people leaving incarceration are better prepared to continue any medical care they might need.

“The biggest challenge I face is time. Because of all of the extra duties that I do,” said Wilson. “If I’m not there to do my job, then the nurses have a hard time treating people. I’m constantly stopping and going and doing ten other times.”

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Last year, one in five authorized state positions remained vacant, with a vacancy rate of more than one in 10 positions within the Department of Corrections last summer. That understaffing overwhelms state workers and undermines our ability to serve Colorado.

 

State employees are stronger when we stand together. Please join Colorado WINS and help advocate for workers like Shawnee — and you.

Join the Union


 

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Colorado State Employee Spotlight: Shawnee Lorimore

Today’s online shout-out goes to Shawnee Lorimore. Shawnee works for the Department of Corrections as a culinary instructor at Trinidad Correctional Facility.

 

Colorado State Employee Spotlight: Shawnee Lorimore 

“I’m really popular because I feed everybody,” Shawnee joked recently.

At the end of the day, Shawnee is preparing much more than food, though. She’s teaching vital life and jobs skills that help reduce criminal recidivism by enabling offenders become more successful and productive members of the community.

“She brings out the best in these guys and she brings out the best in all of us,” Shawnee’s colleague Pauline Boyd explained.

A Colorado State Employee Making a Difference

Trinidad is not the state’s largest correctional facility. Nonetheless, Shawnee’s program had some of the highest culinary program completions in Colorado’s Department of Corrections.

Shawnee’s impact isn’t just a question of numbers either.

Once, a long-absent father preparing to be paroled wanted Shawnee to teach him to cook for his family. He’d been incarcerated for much of his children’s lives and was going to be a single father.

“He wanted to be able to establish a home — and food had always been at the center of his family,” Shawnee remembered. “Those moments are priceless.”

Proud to Serve Colorado

For people like Shawnee, working for the state is more than just a job:

“I am so proud to be an employee of the state and work for the Department of Corrections,” Shawnee said. “Working for DOC isn’t a glamorous job, but I am so proud of what I do.”

Shawnee is just one of nearly 29,000 state employees in Colorado, dedicated workers who provide vital public services every hour of the day and every day of the year. The Department of Corrections alone helped 1,110 people complete programs to promote successful community reintegration and reduce criminal recidivism.

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Despite the contributions of hardworking people like Shawnee, state employee pay has lagged even as the cost of housing, healthcare and other essentials has skyrocketed in the state.

As a result, the Department of Corrections and other agencies and departments face increasing staff turnover and chronic understaffing that undermine public employees and the services we provide.

 

State employees are stronger when we stand together. Please join Colorado WINS and help advocate for workers like Shawnee — and you.

Join the Union


 

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Colorado State Employee Spotlight: Marie Bordeaux

Today’s featured Colorado state employee is Marie Bordeaux. A self-described “office mom,” Marie is making the Northglenn Drivers License Office a little more welcoming for her clients and her co-workers.

 

Maire Bordeaux, Drivers Licence Office
 

Making a Difference for Colorado Drivers

Like so many state employees, Marie is passionate about her job. She has been working for the state for about 13 years and is a driver’s license technician at the Northglenn Drivers License Office.

Her favorite part of the job is “meeting new people and working to be the best I can be at what I do,” Marie said in a telephone interview.

What Marie does is pretty important too.

Colorado has more than 4.1 million licensed drivers. License technicians like Marie ensure that the people who share the roads with us are qualified, capable, and safe to be behind the wheel.

“We have to make sure that they have everything they need to issue that license,” Marie said. “We have to make sure they are who they say there are. There’s been people who’ve come in with fraudulent documents. It’s important that we do a thorough job.”

It can be serious work, but Marie tries to make the process of getting a license as easy as possible.

“We have a lot of out-of-state people who come in and it’s important to make them feel welcome,” she said. “It’s a vital service.”

“Work Mom”

Spend some time talking with Marie and it’s easy to see how much she cares about her co-workers — many of whom are just beginning their careers.

“She’s like our work mom who really cares about everyone,” wrote coworker Megan Todd, who nominated Marie for an online shout-out. “She does everything she can to make someone feel appreciated.”

Marie embraces the label. As an experienced employee, she acts as a mentor and helps new employees learn the ropes. To make sure co-workers feel appreciated, she also organizes potlucks for employee birthdays.

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Colorado WINS believes that when state employees support each other, we can accomplish real progress for workers — and the communities we live in.


With a union, you’re not alone. Join the largest “work family” in the state employment system — join Colorado WINS.

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State Employee Spotlight: Rana Gonzales, Human Services

State workers make important contributions each and every week, day, and hour of the year. Today we’re spotlighting Rana Gonzales, a Health Care Liaison who’s worked at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo for 15 years.

Rana Gonzales, DHS
 

Meet Rana

“I care deeply about the work that I do to help patients meet their mental health care goals so that they can leave the hospital and hopefully return to a healthy and independent life in their community,” Rana recently told state legislators.

Her co-worker Lucy Munoz, says Rana is “extremely knowledgeable in her job and the mental health field.”

“She has a passion for her job that is not seen often enough,” says Lucy. “Rana is not afraid to help nursing staff when things get hectic. She is a great asset to our facility and to our patients. As a long time coworker and friend she inspires me to be a better patient advocate.”

Rana is also an active member of Colorado WINS. She worked hard this spring to advocate for state employees at the Capitol and on the job.

“I love this work but sometimes I wonder if I can keep doing it. My department is critically short staffed,” Rana told legislators.

“If we had a stronger voice and a way to enforce agreements we reach with the State, we could help improve services, she continued. “It is critical that we have the right to collectively bargain with the state. We are one of only 16 states where state employees do not have this freedom.”

“We want a real partnership with the state to fix understaffing and improve the quality of services.”

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State employees are stronger when we stand together. Please join Colorado WINS and help advocate for workers — and you.

Join the Union

 


 

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Colorado State Employee Spotlight: Eric Olsen

Today’s Colorado State Employee Spotlight is Eric Olsen, a corrections officer at the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center. Eric is a fierce advocate for his co-workers and for safer conditions for employees and inmates at Colorado’s corrections facilities.

State Employee Spotlight: Eric Olsen, DOC

An Advocate for State Employees and Safety

Dealing with understaffing, forced overtime and the difficult job conditions that come with them can be exhausting for officers like Olsen. Olsen told Denver7 earlier this year, “If you have someone working a 16-hour shift, when they get on the road, it’s not safe for the public.”

Eric isn’t the only office impacted by understaffing. The Department of Corrections — along with the state Human Services and Transportation Departments — experiences some of the highest employee turnover rates among state agencies.

Colorado WINS’ Vision for State Employees

Colorado WINS believes that state employees deserve respect, dignity — and the power to improve address issues like understaffing that threaten the staff and inmates of our correctional facilities. With the freedom to collectively bargain and a stronger voice on the job, we can make it happen.

 

State employees are stronger when we stand together. Please join Colorado WINS and help advocate for workers — and you.

Join the Union

 


 

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Colorado State Employee Spotlight: Krista Heiner

Ever wonder how decisions about Colorado’s state parks and wildlife are made? Krista Heiner, today’s featured Colorado state employee, helps. She ensures decision-makers have the information they need to maintain Colorado’s great state parks and our spectacular wildlife.

Krista Heiner, Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Proud to Be a Colorado State Employee

Krista Heiner has only been working for Colorado Parks and Wildlife for two years, but she’d covered a lot of ground. Originally from Colorado, Krista worked in Washington, DC and lived abroad working on wildlife conservation issues before returning to Colorado.

“It’s been really fun to come back to the state I’m from and serve the people of Colorado. It’s great to be able to put that information to use here,” Krista said in a telephone interview. “I do feel proud to be a state employee.”

Making a Difference for Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Krista should feel proud. State parks belong to all Coloradans, are a major draw to the state’s tourist economy, and an important way for Coloradans to connect with nature, culture, and history.

As a policy and planning analyst for Parks and Wildlife, Krista helps ensure that decision-makers in the department and political leaders have the information they need to make good decisions about these important places and the amazing wildlife in our state.

“It’s important that our decision-makers have the best available information and can really think through the issues with the best available data,” Krista said. “It’s really important that we hear from the public to understand what they need and want.”

Challenges

It’s not easy to ensure that tourists, our growing population, and our shared love for Colorado’s wildlife and wilder places doesn’t lead to overuse or misuse that could threaten the health of our wildlife, environment, and special Colorado places.

“Sometimes it’s hard to fund the research we want to do. Sometimes it’s not as fast-moving as we’d like.”

Fortunately, the State of Colorado has dedicated — and often unsung — state employees like Krista who are protecting the natural treasures so many of us love despite the challenges.

“Her professional expertise is bar none, and her personable and friendly attitude make it a pleasure to work with her,” wrote colleague Michael Quartuch, who nominated Krista for a Colorado WINS state employee shout-out.

Colorado WINS’ Vision for State Employees

Colorado WINS believes that state employees deserve respect, dignity — and the power to promote a cleaner, healthier environment for Colorado. With the freedom to collectively bargain and a stronger voice on the job, frontline workers can help direct resources where they are most needed to protect our natural treasures.

 

 

State employees are stronger when we stand together. Please join Colorado WINS and help advocate for workers — and you.

Join the Union

 

 
 

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