APRIL 2013 NEWSLETTER | COLORADO WINS | LOCAL 1876
WINS mourns the loss of DOC Director Tom Clements
More on p. 3
› Lobby Day 2013 pictures › Fabiana Martinez fights for custodians’ rights › Organizing for respect across the departments › Legal update: Higher Ed exemptions and rulemaking
A budget win for state employees Both houses of the legislature have approved the state budget, also known as the Long Bill, which includes a 2% base-building raise for state workers. The budget also contains additional funding for merit raises, for a total potential raise of 4.4% for high-performers at the bottom of their range. This is a significant win for Colorado’s public employees, one that came after a long fight at the capitol. After the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) approved the 2% salary survey increase, the Long Bill passed the Senate on a party-line vote. Before the bill passed, Senate Republicans attempted to reduce the increase to 1.5% but were defeated by the Democrats). The state House passed the state budget 45-18. Now that both chambers have passed the budget, the differences in spending must be rectified before sending the bill to the Governor. The WINS legal team worked with the Dept. of Personnel and Administration
(DPA) to ensure that 99% of the state workforce sees a 2% base-building increase. To make this a reality, DPA has agreed to the following steps: • 2% will be added to range maximums in every job classification within the personnel system, thereby ensuring room in most ranges to allow for a 2% base-
building increase even for those at the top. • DPA will not implement the Enforcement and Protective Services salary range adjustments and has backed out the dramatic changes that would have brought many Corrections professionals close to or beyond their range maximums. see “Salary Survey” on page 4
Colorado WINS member Joe Rogers, left, speaking with Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Crisanta Duran while delivering more than 700 signed postcards urging legislators to fund a raise for state employees. Just under 2000 postcards were delivered during the course of the campaign.
WINS secures lower employee healthcare costs When the Governor presented the 2013-14 budget proposal that included $186 million for Health/Life/Dental (H/L/D), an increase of $21 million over last year, his proposal didn’t fully cover the expected premium increases for employees who have healthcare plans provided by the state. Since November, Colorado WINS members have actively worked to secure additional funding from the Legislature to cover medical premium increases. Joint Budget Committee (JBC) leaders heard our voices and increased state funding of H/L/D. In fact, the latest figures from the JBC and included in the Long Bill (2013-14 state budget) show that employee out-of-pocket healthcare cost will slightly decrease for the next fiscal year starting July 1.
Early conversations about cost-containment methods for healthcare have centered on creating a Wellness program for the state workforce. Wellness programs have worked in other states, such as Oregon and Montana, and were prominently mentioned by Governor Hickenlooper’s January State of the State address.
A healthier workforce could help contain costs by reducing both claims and the number of days lost to illness, some of the larger cost-drivers for healthcare premiums. Since the Healthcare Partnership team reconvened in November, Colorado WINS has reached out to our union counterparts in Oregon, Connecticut and other states to learn more about their statewide Wellness programs. Colorado’s Wellness program is likely to be up and running by July 1, 2013. A good portion of the wellness discussion has centered around what it would take to encourage employees to change behaviors and be healthier. Colorado WINS members
Colorado WINS Healthcare Partnership team members, along with the Colorado State Patrol members, continued discussions with Department of Personnel & Administration (DPA) senior officials to provide better healthcare at reasonable costs. “It is important that members meet with DPA because it is OUR healthcare. We know what we need, what we want and what we can afford,” said Barb Rosten, office manager at the Fort Lewis College in Durango and Colorado WINS member. “We are working hard to choose the best, most affordable healthcare for all state employees. In partnering with DPA, I am confident that members will have a choice when it comes to their healthcare.”
“We have made progress towards a meaningful financial rebate for those who voluntarily choose to participate [in a wellness plan].” – Denise Rogers Piel, WINS Healthcare Rep
see “Wellness” on page 3
LET’S BE SOCIAL
Colorado WINS Healthcare Representatives during a January meeting with DPA to discuss the creation of a Wellness program in Colorado. Attendees heard a presentation from Jean Morningstar, President of AFT Local 3837 in Connecticut, about their “Health Enhancement Program.”
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Time to organize and build leadership At the beginning of this year, as we were gearing up for legislative session, WINS President Patty Moore sent out an e-mail talking about our new plan to more effectively build union power for Colorado’s public employees. She talked about developing leadership structures, growing our numbers and organizing state-wide issue-based campaigns. We are now three months into this SCOTT WASSERMAN new process and it is my hope that Executive Director you’ve noticed the positive effect these changes have had on Colorado WINS. You may be wondering why the sudden need for change. For many years, our Union spread its resources broadly and admittedly thin. Our organizers tried to cover as much territory as possible and were expected to be walking Swiss-army knives. One day they would work with members on issues at their facility, next day they’d work on new member recruitment halfway across the state. Then they would drop everything to get the word out about the latest threat coming from the State Capitol. Similarly, we have asked quite a bit of our member leadership over the past four years. Board members and elected facility representatives shouldered most of the burden associated with making this union a reality. But burnout quickly took its toll. While this traditional organizing model carried us through many trials and tribulations, the leadership of Colorado WINS believed it was time to take a second look at our old habits and transform the way we do business. Our mission cannot just be survival – we have to be focused on growth and must provide a strong, meaningful voice for state employees who want to take their future in their own hands. As a result, our re-designed field program puts emphasis on three critical areas. MEMBERSHIP DENSITY We have thousands of members across Colorado, which makes a big difference when it comes to political power. But thousands of members across the state doesn’t help you if your facility is at only 20% membership. In facilities such as Fitzsimons Veterans’ Home, where we have been able to cross the 50% threshold, we’ve seen a tangible difference in the daily lives of workers: their Employee Management Committee has input on policy changes and majority membership means they are winning on issues such as scheduling and training. More members means more power and that’s what we need to strive for in all of our facilities. Throughout the year, our new Power Team will deploy into specific facilities for five-week campaigns to help strengthen existing leadership, boost union support and grow membership with majority as a goal. see “Executive Director” on page 2
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APRIL 2013 | COLORADO WINS | LOCAL 1876
FABIANA MARTINEZ Higher Education Auraria Higher Education Campus
Fabiana Martinez is one of 6 children and a Colorado native. She has always worked hard to support her family, leaving school at 11 and, along with her sister, taking a job to help her mother after her parents separated. Before she was hired as a custodian at Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC), Fabiana worked with special needs students as a teacher’s assistant. “I like to help people and try not to listen to bad things because I do not like to be upset or angry. I am like a fish in water and move to make things better for people around me. I like to work and help my coworkers,” Fabiana said. “Before joining the union I didn’t know my rights, and I didn’t protect myself. I have learned a lot and not just for me… from the union I learned how to take care of each other. I compete with myself to better myself. When I see others join the union, it makes me happy to see that they learned to stand up for themselves.” At AHEC, Fabiana has helped to organize her fellow employees in a fight against mistreatment by supervisors. AHEC management made changes to custodians’ schedules, ignoring their pleas about the hardship from loss of family time. This forced some employees to sleep on campus, because public transportation was unavailable when their shifts ended. In addition, management gave the predominantly Spanish-speaking custodians a list in English of winter gear to buy out of their own pocket. They required the custodians to sign documents presented in English, such as shift change announcements or position descriptions, without fully understanding them. When they also got rid of differential pay enough was enough – Fabiana and other custodians came together and joined Colorado WINS. Fabiana was elected as a leader to the Executive Committee for AHEC members. They fight for safety because too many coworkers have been seriously injured. AHEC is clear that crews will not get more custodians, yet more buildings go up. In fall of 2012, she worked with the Romero Troupe to produce a play based on the plight of Auraria custodians in their Campaign for Respect. In December, with the help of the WINS legal team, the AHEC custodians won a significant battle – they won the right to bring an interpreter of their choice to all future grievance meetings. “Before you couldn’t talk at work, but now we know our rights and we get respect because they know we have a union,” Fabiana said.
MARIE MAEZ Dept. of Human Services Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo “I have been a union member for all 18 years I have worked for the state. I joined Colorado WINS to protect my rights as a state employee. Recently, I was elected as a steward for my unit at CMHIP. I took this position because I know the union is the way we make a positive difference for state employees and I want to be a part of that.”
ROY BREEN Higher Education University of Northern Colorado, Greeley “I joined the union because it is the single best way for workers to have a voice in their working environment. As we strive to make our jobs better, we all have to work together to build and strengthen the union. Nothing happens without members’ effort and support. Be an active member so we can all move forward.”
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Strength in unity among all of Colorado’s workers Recently I found myself thinking back to the early days of Colorado WINS and reflecting on the progress we have made in such a short time. Back in 2008, I was working PATTY MOORE President, Colorado WINS at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP) as a Psychiatric Technician, which I continue to do to this day. At the time, workers were ready to stand up for improved safety and services, but we had no one to represent us. After working to ensure we could unite as one union by helping to secure the Health Care Services vote during our authorization phase, I became one of the first cardcarrying members of Colorado WINS in January of 2009. Not long after, we began to create our Employee Management Committee, much to the dismay of our administration. Every month we would sit down with management and hear “You’re at such a low percentage of members, we’ll take you seriously when you have more.” We continued to work diligently to increase our membership and within 8 months, when we doubled our original membership, we were finally taken seriously. But our victory was short-lived due to the economic crisis and budget cuts, which began to severely impact safety in the workplace.
We saw a shortage of full-time employees. Worker compensation and injuries on the job left us struggling to provide the same level of care as we had in the past. As a union, we began to look for a way to solve, or at least lessen, the crisis we dealt with each day. We had to mobilize our membership for our voice to be heard, so we organized a rally across the street from the hospital. Our legislators at the time, Senator Angela Giron and Representatives Sal Pace and Keith Swerdferger, united with us in a press conference to implore GovernorElect John Hickenlooper to help with the budget. I told a story of how dangerous our work environment was, detailing how many of us would have to run the length of a football field to aid our fellow employees in case of an emergency situation. We called on Hickenlooper to help. He did, increasing the budget enough to allow for more employees, in a time when other facilities were facing reductions. More recently, we have made great strides in forming a stewardship at the hospital. We are in the infant phase, but have seen great things happening. We are able to respond quicker when management changes a policy and many of us have had the privilege to help our brothers and sisters with various work-related issues. As I look forward, it humbles and pleases me to see the unity of Colorado state employees. I have believed my entire life that “united we stand, divided we fall.” Together, we really can make a difference.
Executive Director continued from p. 1
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT For Colorado WINS to be truly successful, i.e. self-sustaining and democratic, we must have empowered leaders who inspire their coworkers and take on the tough assignments. Our LEAD (Leadership Education and Activist Development) team will spread out among priority facilities to help our activists sharpen their leadership skills and develop smaller, targeted campaigns around a variety of issues. This team will also help out our Partnership teams as they work to reach meaningful agreements with state agency management. VISIBILITY Colorado is a big state with facilities spread far and wide. Under our old model, some facilities would not see a WINS organizer for weeks or even months. Under our new model, while we are still susceptible to this pitfalls we have created a special Communications team, tasked with visiting places that may have fallen off the radar. They will also help us get the word out about broad campaigns that every state employes needs to know about. As we continue our work, there will no doubt be challenges our new model will face. We will work hard as a team to identify any kinks over the next few months. But if we are successful, the result will be a stronger, deeper, and more focused union that can deliver real change for state employees. ■
Official publication of
2525 Alameda Ave. Denver, CO 80219 303.727.8040 email@example.com
COLORADO WINS EXECUTIVE BOARD PATTY MOORE President
GREG GOLDMAN Treasurer
DAVID PERTZ Secretary
SCOTT WASSERMAN Executive Director
VICE PRESIDENTS: PAT ROYBAL, Dist. I RITA UHLER, Dist. II SKIP MILLER, Dist. III MIKE CRISWELL, Dist. IV JACQUIE ANDERSON, Dist. V ED SCHMAL, Dist. VI DALE O’CONNOR, Dept. Committee
RETIREE CHAIR: DAVID RUCHMAN
APRIL 2013 | COLORADO WINS | LOCAL 1876
Organizing for respect DOC members join together to change work environments Department of Corrections members are formulating solutions to problems that have plagued the department for years. By uniting around concrete solutions, members are finding that they are gaining ground and garnering respect from management. 28-day solutions In January, members of the Partnership Team and 28-day Workgroup — a small group focused exclusively on this challenge — set out to determine the key issues of the 28-day work system and the best short- and long-term solutions to the problem. After speaking with Corrections members from around the state, the Partnership team formulated several solutions to deal with the 28-day issues. As a result, Colorado WINS is leading efforts for Senate Bill 210, legislation introduced in mid-March that would implement new scheduling and staffing standards to improve timekeeping and overtime compensation for corrections officers. Sponsored by Senator Angela Giron and Representative Crisanta Duran, Senate Bill 210 incorporates the Partnership team’s solutions, among them: • Decreasing the length of the work period to 14days, 85-hours. • Granting shift premiums to officers who work 12 or more hours in a 24hour period. • Making sure that pay stubs clearly reflect all hours worked during a work period. • Utilizing an automated timekeeping system. • Creating system to retain quality employees during facility and unit closures. As of publication date, SB 210 has passed its first hearing. Population declines and for-profit prisons As inmate population is decreasing, prisons are coming under tight scrutiny. On one hand, it is comforting to know there is less crime in our state. On the other, it creates a lot of uncertainty about the future of our public prison workforce. With this cloud hanging over the heads of some the toughest jobs in state government, many are questioning why some Colorado prisoners are housed in for-profit prison centers.
Members of the Partnership Team during a January meeting with DOC’s senior executives to discuss possible solutions to the 28-day work period system. “The private prisons don’t pay as well as the state, although sometimes their benefits are better, go figure. But the most dangerous part is the lack of orientation and training a new officer receives in a private facility,” said Alex Barnes an Officer on the Partnership Team and former for-profit prison employee. “For the state, I am given the training and know how I need to get the job done, that’s why I am a Correctional Officer for the state of Colorado and not a Prison Guard at a for-profit detention center.” As the state’s inmate population declines for the first time since the 1990s, Colorado WINS is also pushing for a new “state beds first” policy that would prioritize filling state beds before for-profit ones. You can read the Colorado WINS report “Imprisoned by Profit: Breaking Colorado’s Dependence on For-Profit Prisons” at bit.ly/forprofits.
Safety on the Job Beyond the partnership team, some facilities have taken on local issues through the Employee Management process. The Employee Management Committee (EMC) is a vehicle for frontline staff to work with facility management in the search for solutions to problems that impact the facility. For example, at Sterling Correctional Facility, those issues are around safety in the kitchen, laundry and other areas outside of housing. The EMC is preparing to present to management a cost-neutral proposal to add safety training and access DEPT. OF HUMAN SERVICES to crucial safety equipment that has been Wheat Ridge Regional Center, Fitzsimons’ Veterans Home, Grand missing from those areas. Junction Regional Center, Ft. Logan Mental Health, and Pueblo “Adding training to support staff Regional Center are just a few facilities where members are creating improves our safety,” said Sterling a steward structure and preparing to run elections for Employee Correctional worker Buster Coons. “But Management Committee (EMC) positions. without access to safety equipment, training only goes so far.” At Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo, the EMC has already created a steward structure, improving their ability to act quickly on employee concerns and strengthening the work of the EMC.
IrtmNenG Z I N O R GacA ts ross depa
HIGHER EDUCATION Custodians at AHEC are continuing to stand up against bad management practices (see Member Spotlight, p. 2) and are beginning to reach out to other custodians in the Denver Metro area to broaden the fight. At University of Northern Colorado, member Roy Breen has been leading the charge to create a campus-wide steward structure in Greeley. CAPITOL CORRIDOR Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) is a small department with a big task. Workers at HCPF make the state a healthier place and help Coloradans in need receive the right care. Joe Rogers has been reaching out to workers to help improve the effectiveness of the Department in improving services. Joe also set up regular meetings with members from CDLE, DHS HQ, DOR and DORA to share best organizing practices with members who work in the downtown Denver area.
Colorado WINS mourns
Tom Clements Dept. of Corrections Director As we worked on a number of difficult issues facing the corrections workforce, we had the opportunity to get to know Director Clements. And from those interactions, it was clear that he was a leader who looked out for those he led. In our partnership negotiations, we always knew we had a reasonable and enlightened man at the other end of the table who wanted to reach a fair solution. Ultimately, he was a friend of this union and this is a tragic loss. This is the second tragedy to befall the Colorado Corrections community in the past several months and it is a painful reminder of what every public safety professional fears most. Our thoughts are with Dir. Clements’ family and all those in the Corrections community. – Statement from Executive Director Scott Wasserman, March 20
continued from p. 1
have been steadfast in making sure that any Wellness program must include: 1. Meaningful financial incentive to participate. Figures are still being tossed around for a premium rebate for those in a Kaiser Permanente or United Healthcare plans. Every employee enrolled in a state plan would pay a built-in $5 fee for the premium incentive. It is our understanding from DPA that this fee won’t affect posted premium rates and healthcare costs will still slightly decrease for the next fiscal year starting on July 1. 2. Clear participation triggers. While the details are still being discussed, an employee would have to voluntarily sign up for the program, complete a health assessment (including biometric screening) and possibly complete another action in order to receive the premium incentive.
Photo courtesy of Colorado Dept. of Corrections
3. Institutional role for Colorado WINS. For this program to be successful there must be employee oversight and Colorado WINS will help fill spots on a labor-management oversight committee. “Our conversations with DPA have been productive and we’re making sure that a wellness program meets the unique need of state employees,” said Denise Rogers Piel, a Colorado WINS member at Sterling Correctional Facility. “We have made progress towards a meaningful financial rebate for those who voluntarily choose to participate. Participation guidelines that are simple to understand and meet are another priority for us in developing this program.” Once the program is implemented, Colorado WINS members look forward to discussions involving benefit-design plans and shaping the 2015 Request for Proposal (RFP) that will decide who provides healthcare coverage for the state workforce. ■
APRIL 2013 | COLORADO WINS | LOCAL 1876
Members visit legislators for Lobby Day Exemptions head to court, WINS legal team helps draft new personnel rules HIGHER ED EXEMPTIONS Colorado WINS members in Higher Education raised serious concerns with how universities and colleges are applying the new exemption powers granted to them in 2011’s House Bill 1301. The bill allowed Universities to exempt more professional employees and also employees whose positions are not funded by state general funds. WINS legal staff assisted several employees in filing grievances challenging specific exemptions at the University of Colorado-Boulder, the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado Mesa University and Adams State University. They used “as-applied” challenges, which bring into question specific instances of the law being applied. In early October, WINS filed an appeal of these grievances with the State Personnel Board. The Adams, Mesa and Mines challenges have been reviewed by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who has recommended full evidentiary hearings in all 3 cases. We expect that the Board will approve the preliminary recommendations of the ALJ and all 3 cases will be consolidated into one hearing which will begin sometime in June. RULEMAKING PROCESS Amendment S, which was passed by Colorado voters in November, altered the way people applying for state positions were hired and managed and necessitated new rules be promulgated the State Personnel Board. WINS staff worked directly with the Board and DPA to develop these new rules, which were finalized at the end of January. Changes were made to Chapters 1, 4, 7 & 8 of the Personnel Rules and can be found at Colorado.gov/spb. The other half of the legislation (HB 1321), which replaced Pay for Performance with Merit Pay and made changes to retention rights, was signed into law by the Governor on June 6, 2012. Colorado WINS worked closely with Gov. Hickenlooper on making sure the changes did not negatively affect state employees.
continued from p. 1
Throughout this process, Colorado WINS was at the Capitol, making sure that state employees receive their first raise in more than four years. Our members delivered hundreds of postcards, lobbying the JBC to increase the salary survey from the Governor’s originally proposed 1.5% to 2%, which the JBC approved in late January. They also approved funding of the new merit pay system, which will provide performance-based raises on top of the salary survey increase. In addition, the state is expected to fully cover increased healthcare premiums, which means employees’ out-of-pocket healthcare costs should actually decrease slightly. While this doesn’t make state employee whole after years of cuts, it’s a step in the right direction. If you have questions about how the 2% Proposed Performance Matrix % increase will affect you, we have put together Increase for FY 2013-14 Merit Pay an FAQ about the FY 2013-14 Compensation Salary Range Quartile Performance Plan. It includes frequently asked questions Rating about the salary survey, merit pay and 1st 2nd 3rd 4th healthcare costs. To get the latest information Level 3 2.4% 2.1% 2.1% 2.1% visit bit.ly/compfaq. Level 2 1.8% 1.6% 1.1% 0.6% This is a win for our union and Colorado’s Level 1 0% 0% 0% 0% state employees. The across-the-board increase, new merit pay system and full coverage of healthcare premium increases results in a state budget that begins a much need economic recovery for Colorado’s state workforce. ■
APRIL 27 Unleashing Our Power workshop - Pueblo Two meetings: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Contact Hilary Chigro: firstname.lastname@example.org or (719) 545-0677
MAY 8 WINSday Member Orientation - Pueblo, 5 p.m. — 7 p.m. Every second Wednesday of the month.
Contact Robert Lindgren: email@example.com or (719) 545-0677
MAY 8 Dept. of Corrections call, 6:30 p.m. Every second Wednesday of the month.
Contact Dale O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org
MAY 11 Unleashing Our Power workshop - Denver , 10 a.m. — 2 p.m. Learn how to harness Union power.
Contact Tyler Gaylord: email@example.com or (303) 937-6489
MAY 15 Retiree Meeting - Grand Junction, 2 p.m. Every third Wednesday of the month.
Contact Eric Shaffer: firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 261-9096
MAY 15 WINSday Member Orientation - Denver, 5 p.m. — 7 p.m. Every third Wednesday of the month.
Contact Robert Lindgren: email@example.com or (719) 545-0677
MAY TBD Telephone Town Hall
Discussing the 2013 legislative session and other pressing issues.
Contact Brian Tanner: firstname.lastname@example.org or (303) 937-6490
On Monday, March 11, a group of Colorado WINS members met with their legislators to talk about long-overdue pay increases, improved staffing and scheduling for correctional officers, and the state’s budget priorities around for-profit prisons. View pictures from Lobby Day. Skip Miller, who works at the School of Mines, enjoyed his conversation with Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) and urged him to support the proposed raise for state employees. “I talked to him about how much a base-building raise means to all of us, and he really listened to how the 2% increase will help Colorado’s economy by helping state workers,” Miller said. Members also lobbied for new legislation, scheduled to be introduced this week, that will implement new scheduling and staffing standards to improve timekeeping and overtime compensation for corrections officers. Larry VanGelder, a corrections officer at CSP who lives in Canon City, talked to a number of legislators about why these changes are needed and overdue. Top to bottom: Lobby Day attendees after the debrief; Rep. Ed Vigil talks with WINS members from Alamosa; Joyce Murphy speaks with Rep. Dan Nordberg; Members from Aurora speak with Rep. Jovan Melton.