For Immediate ReleaseJanuary 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.
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.