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7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 22

WHAT’S INSIDE: › John Barron on the western slope › Employees demand respect › Dept. Director meets with workers › What makes a leader? › New pay system, personnel reform › Get active in 2012 elections

Budget victory means more money in state employee pockets For the first time in years, the Colorado legislature passed a budget that gives hope to more than 31,000 state employees who make our state a great place to live and work. The state budget for 2012-13 stops the 2.5% pay cut (PERA cost shift), puts more money toward absorbing the rising health care costs and protects hundreds of jobs. In all, Colorado WINS helped secure nearly $40 million to improve employees’ economic situation while saving nearly 500 jobs. This is remarkable in light of legislators’ initial discussions about possible cuts in funding as well as significant increases in employee contributions to health care. You may ask, what does this mean for you? You will see more money in your paycheck starting this July. STOPPING THE 2.5% PERA COST SHIFT Since July 2010, state employees have been forced to pay an additional 2.5% into PERA (10.5% total) while the state reduced its contribution. Colorado WINS members collected and

delivered more than 1,700 petition signatures to the Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) Director Kathy Nesbitt and more than 3,200 postcards to Governor John Hickenlooper urging them to restore the 2.5% back to employee paychecks while keeping PERA solvent. All our efforts paid off when the Governor signed into law the 2012-13 state budget on May 5. This budget stopped the 2.5% PERA cost shift and will keep about $20 million in employees’ pockets when this budget goes into effect in July. MORE MONEY FOR HEALTH PREMIUMS The Governor’s original budget proposal passed the entire health premium increase onto employees, for a total $15.2 million. Colorado WINS strongly opposed this and led efforts to have the state pick up the premium increase, rather than shoulder employees with this budgetary burden. After wrangling in the JBC and tussling with DPA over policy changes, the final rates posted for see “State budget” on page 4

Colorado WINS members deliver postcards to the desk of Senator Morgan Carroll. The cards urged lawmakers to fund increases for health care premiums and restore Photo: Brian Tanner employee pay.

Colorado WINS committed to DOC employees Where we go from here When people ask me what Colorado WINS is up to, I say that we’re just completing Phase 1 of our resurgence and are about to start Phase 2. Phase 1 should be familiar to you since you’ve been living it for the past 10 months. In July we made it our mission to improve state employees’ economic wellbeing. SCOTT WASSERMAN Initially, our goal was to restore the Executive Director 2.5% PERA cost shift back to into state employee paychecks. Thousands of you responded and 3,200 postcards came in from all over the state. Then, in November, we expanded our fight to include an effort to get more money to absorb the health care premium increases that threatened to eat up any restoration in pay. By December, legislators and other policymakers were telling us to lower our expectations. But we knew we couldn’t back down. After five months in the legislative trenches and thousands of postcards from state employees, we are seeing the fruit of our labors. On July 31, state employees will see a recognizable increase in their take-home pay – no small feat in a state facing long-term fiscal ruin after years of budget crises and fiscal disorder.


see “Executive Director” on page 3 @CoWINSpolitics Text “COWINS” to 787-753

The Department of Corrections (DOC) had its share of budget woes this year. Beyond working with members across all departments to restore the 2.5% PERA cost shift, fighting for health care premium funding, and mitigating 500 layoffs, the department was hit with additional budget changes and restructuring. The most drastic change is the closing of the Centennial South Correctional Facility (CSP II), after figures released by the department showed Colorado’s inmate population declining. DOC Executive Director

Tom Clements said during a March 20 DOC town hall in Canon that all 213 CSP II employees will be absorbed into the remaining Fremont County correctional centers. Following the discussion of the closure of CSP II, Colorado WINS members fought hard at the capitol to ensure that HB 1336, the prison utilization bill, included front line staff in the discussion of the future of corrections. WINS also insisted the study review a number of DOC worker concerns, such as overtime and the 28-day work rule.

Department of Corrections members in Sterling met with Mel Grieshaber and Andy Potter, far right, respectively, of the Michigan Corrections Organization to discuss national issues facing corrections employees. Photo: Brian Tanner

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Following the introduction of the budget bill, two house amendments were added that would have had drastic implications to the DOC. House Amendment 10 sought to reduce DOC funding by $4.4 million and 20 FTEs. House Amendment 12 sought to reduce the number of beds in Sterling, Trinidad and Buena Vista correctional facilities by more than two hundred. Due to pressure from Colorado WINS, a budget compromise was reached between the House and Senate. As a result, DOC will receive $1 million less in funding and beds will be reduced in Sterling, Trinidad and Buena Vista, but there will be no layoffs this year. As Colorado WINS members come out of this fight, many will have an opportunity to participate in steward trainings. For now, these trainings are held monthly in Canon City and will help members learn the ins and outs of the department’s administrative regulations, how to represent their coworkers in R6-10’s, and the process for filing a grievance. With new staff resources in the Canon area, members will be given new tools to help organize in the workplace.

GRAND JUNCTION 3168 Pipe Court, Suite 102 Grand Junction, CO 81504 970.263.9900


DHS: Partnership in motion Department of Human Services has a problem: after four years of the toughest budget cuts this state has ever seen, DHS employees must provide leaner services with less staff. Despite the challenges, inspirational things are happening in the department. CMHIP The Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo (CMHIP) is one example. During January, a typically tough month for the Colorado Mental Health institute’s budget, CMHIP reduced shifts for pool staff, effectively putting 110 workers out of work without actually laying anyone off. Colorado WINS members affected by this cut had a choice: fret over the loss of wages or get organized — and organize they did. Within a week, ten members a day patrolled shift changes at the hospital, gathering petition signatures and signing new members. By the end of the week, hundreds of CMHIP employees had signed the petition to restore shifts and 20 employees joined Colorado WINS. At the following Employee Management Committee (EMC) members created a work group to collaborate with management to restore shifts. Since that day, more and more shifts have been restored with the EMC and members working every day to ensure that the hospital has the staffing it needs to provide the safest care they can maintain. In fact, on April 21, members met with DHS Executive Director Reggie Bicha to discuss these and other work site issues. FITZSIMONS At the Fitzsimons State Veterans Home, the EMC stalled in addressing employee concerns and in October,

Colorado WINS members of the EMC had to walk away from the table. With such a strong showing of unity, the EMC members launched an organizing drive, vowing to get to majority membership before returning to the table. They are now at 54% membership. On May 10 the members and management will sit down again with new facilitations and even more strength at the partnership table. WHEAT RIDGE Employees at Wheat Ridge Regional Center have much to talk about these days. Administrators sought to circumvent the partnership process by making a decision that impacted the staffing ratio for third shift workers. Members began collecting petition signatures and stories from night shift employees about what one less staffer would mean to them and the services they provide to their developmentally disabled clients. At the March EMC meeting, administrators cited that the reason for the change was because overtime numbers were too high to staff the regional center at its current level. Colorado WINS members presented their petition and management agreed that reducing third shift staffing ratios was not the safest move possible and agreed to continue to talk with employees about how to reduce overtime rather than shifts. As the Colorado state economy begins to recover, Colorado WINS members in the Department of Human Services are united to improve the quality of services they provide and ensure that all DHS facilities create a safe and healthy environment for Colorado’s citizens.

We talk about leadership a lot in Colorado WINS and we have many dynamic leaders in our union. Every day, someone is standing up against an injustice or speaking up for a more efficient way to do a job or run an office. Workplace actions are developed, implemented and the results usually lead to better outcomes for employees and management. A safer PAUL BONI and more efficient workplace is good for President, Colorado WINS everyone and another leader emerges. What makes a leader? In the simplest of terms, a leader is someone whom others follow. But why do others follow that person? Perhaps it’s good looks or charisma, an inspired vision or ideal? Could it be a belief in the leader’s moral character, integrity, personal beliefs, or struggles against adversity? Maybe it’s courage and a willingness to fight for the right cause? Whatever the reason, whatever the characteristics of a particular leader, the lowest common denominator is that others follow. Do you see something at your work site that needs to be addressed? Do you have a solution and can you convince others? Perhaps you are a leader. So here I am, the president of Colorado WINS. Sometimes I wonder how this came to be. My personal involvement began many years ago when I noticed that , often, when the state legislature made changes to the classified employment system, we, the employees, usually got the short end of the stick. “Pay for Performance” ring any bells? When Colorado WINS began, I saw a chance for us, the employees who show up everyday, work our shifts and keep this state running, to have a seat at the table with policymakers. I saw a chance for us to bring the voice of state employees to the legislature so that our thoughts and insights would be included in the decisions of government, and so that the legislature would know, first hand, that the decisions they make affect real lives and real families. Not a day goes by that I don’t consider how to improve our relationship with those who make the decisions and how to protect and enhance the wellbeing of more than 30,000 state workers. And I’m not the only one. Colorado WINS is blessed with many strong and dedicated leaders whose passion and drive are just like mine. That is why we, elected board members of Colorado WINS, answered Governor Hickenlooper’s invitation to engage in discussions on the subject of personnel reform. We were adamant that the workers of Colorado needed to be heard: this was too big an issue to walk away and do nothing. So we set out to listen to state workers, and collect responses and reactions see “President’s Corner” on page 3

DHS Executive Director Reggie Bicha, right, and his entourage of staff met with Colorado WINS members at the Photo: Liz Arroyo WINS office in Pueblo.

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Colorado WINS

2525 Alameda Ave. Denver, CO 80219 303.727.8040

JOHN BARRON Dept. of Corrections Grand Junction Photo courtesy of John Barron


As a correctional officer at Delta Correctional Center, John Barron has been helping his coworkers and community gain ground in the fight for better wages and public services. John started working for the state in the Department of Youth Corrections 14 years ago, before transferring to the Delta Correctional Center in 2000. His professionalism in the work place has earned him the respect of his peers and a promotion to sergeant. He has participated in exclusive details such as the Emergency Response and Tracking Team. His commitment to state employees moves him to help workers in other departments push for better pay and health care. As a member of the Western Colorado Trades and Labor Assembly, John will be leading workers in the annual Fourth of July parade in Grand Junction. In his free time, John enjoys spending time

with his family and especially hiking with his daughter. One of his favorite spots to roam is the Colorado National Monument, which he said is a beautiful place that people need to experience if they haven’t already. John can also be found shooting firearms on the vast public lands of Colorado’s western slope. At the work site, John and his coworkers urged the Department of Corrections negotiating team to address the issue of inmates being allowed to have X-Acto knives in their cells, a policy the department has since discontinued. John and his coworkers worked tirelessly collecting post cards for pay restoration and pay reform, which were critical in passing legislation that benefits all state employees. John is one of many WINS members whose dedication to his job and coworkers has been evident throughout his career. He continues to fight on behalf of those whose voices need to be heard.




SCOTT WASSERMAN Executive Director




Organizing Custodian workers at the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC) have had enough. Not only have the custodians suffered under the same “Pay for Performance” system as all state employees, they are sick and tired of the abuses heaped on them by local management. “I’m indignant, they treat us like mops,” Bertha Ribota told AHEC’s student newspaper, The Metropolitan, “I’ve worked here for 18 years and just like that they told me that if I didn’t sign the shift change form, that they would move me from the evening shift to the graveyard. After I signed, they still changed my shift.” “They scream at us, they intimidate us, there’s no respect,” Manuel Monteon told The Metropolitan about his supervisors at AHEC. So Monteon and other members began an organizing drive among the custodians. The goal: Respect. Starting in January, Monteon and the few other members began meeting regularly with their coworkers, cataloging the different injustices suffered by AHEC custodians, tripling the number of WINS members along the way. As more custodians joined the union, a flame was sparked.

for respect This flame blazed come mid-April. AHEC Colorado WINS members drafted an employee Bill of Rights, outlining the seven ways in which the custodians felt disrespected. Using the Bill of Rights as a petition, the custodians collected more than 700 signatures of support from students, faculty and fellow WINS members from Metro State and CU-Denver. On April 25, 50 custodians, faculty, and students marched across the Auraria Campus to deliver the petition to AHEC management. Carrying signs that said “Respect Now” and “All Labor has Dignity” the custodians held their heads high as they delivered the petition to Housekeeping Manager Ed Hinojosa. Their actions resulted in a May 4 meeting with management to discuss next steps in union rights. Following this milestone, AHEC custodians will continue to hold management accountable to make AHEC a campus that respects workers.


TIPS TOWARD COLLECTIVE ACTION Whereas one person may not be able to influence the people in power, a collective action by an organized group can lead to faster and more responsive changes. Here are the things you need to know to successfully launch a collective action campaign at your work site.



Determine the problems you want to fix.



Recognize what you want to do to fix the problem. Make sure the solution is inclusive of all employees.



Understand who has the power to make the change you seek.



Outline the steps you can take to urge your target to make the changes you seek. Is it a petition? Is it a call-in to the boss? In what other ways can you demonstrate collective power?



Understand the plan of engagement. Who is going to do what and when? And what are you going to do next? How will the change you seek be implemented?

Manuel Monteon, left, and the custodians at the AHEC campus joined together to demand respect from their supervisors. They gathered more than 700 signatures for their Bill of Rights petitions. Photo: Gina Marino

Executive Director continued from p. 1

But our work doesn’t stop here – not by a long shot. Across Colorado, state services are suffering due to underfunding, mismanagement or both. State workers have kept their noses to the grindstone – working against many odds to deliver services to the Colorado public. But the cracks are beginning to show and if we don’t work toward real solutions, more than just state employees will notice the consequences. Phase 2 will be about making a tangible difference at state work sites across Colorado. Over the next few months Colorado WINS will be working hard to execute strategies that get us back to the partnership table to discuss issues that matter most to state employees. At the Department of Human Services understaffing and poor management have created dangerous work environments. In Corrections inconsistent application of overtime and forced doubles have led to record burn-out among staff. We are also working to negotiate the implementation of the new merit pay system created by HB 1321 and figure out how to redesign the state’s health care offerings so that annual premium hikes don’t bankrupt hard working Coloradans. It may sound cliché, but Phase 2 will require all hands on deck. Without strong membership in each of our active work sites our campaigns will fall flat and management will question our

determination. During Phase 1 too many state employees sat on sidelines, cheered us on, but didn’t put skin in the game. And in a big legislative battle, that’s easy to overlook. But on the ground, at the facility level, every member counts and more importantly, every non-member hurts. Then in the fall of 2012 we make sure that the right people are running our state and our country. Those of you familiar with the ups and down of the last legislative session know that it matters a great deal who controls the debate at the Capitol. While our grassroots work propelled us forward, there were clear legislative champions who stuck with us and by sheer will made sure that we were successful. The best way to ensure that we lay the ground work for next year’s fights – the first true raise in four years for state workers and accountable implementation of this year’s personnel reforms – is to fight hard for the elected officials who will fight hard for us. The bottom line? When I came onboard as Executive Director in October of 2011, we had been blown off course by many different winds. This legislative session proves that we’re straightening out our course. We’ve demonstrated to the skeptics that we are serious about our destination and more than capable of getting there. But a new wind alone will not get us there – it will take many more rowers to get us to shore. ■

President’s Corner continued from p. 2

to the Governor’s proposals. We held dozens of state wide meetings, and invited all to participate, members and non-members alike. We compiled everyone’s input and opinions and formulated a position in negotiations. As elected leaders, we felt obligated to discuss, in exhaustive detail, every position and opinion and consider the best course of action for the greatest benefit. We were able to block some very objectionable issues while addressing employees’ biggest concerns during negotiations. In House Bill 12-1321 the dysfunctional “Pay for Performance” was replaced with a new pay system that will actually move employees through pay ranges over time. Of all the issues raised in the Governor’s personnel proposals, bumping rights was the toughest for Colorado WINS board members and state employees to agree on. Ultimately, we weighed the prospect of a new pay system with a change to retention rights and decided that 10 years without a raise is too long. Understanding that a mere legislative majority could change retention policies at any time, we pushed for new layoff rights and fought hard to make sure “seniority and performance” were kept as considerations

in any layoff plan and we secured severance rights for state workers facing the prospect of a layoff in the future. This time, the voice of state employees was at the table of government. But can you imagine, for just one minute, what could have happened if we were not there? So here find myself, President of Colorado WINS, and in the perfect position to take that voice to the state capitol. Now, when our state legislature gets together to discuss the classified employment system, we will be there. Will you join us? Will you add your voice to ours? Together we can do great things. ■

NOT A MEMBER? DON’T SIT ON THE SIDELINES. Visit our website to find out how to join.





MAY 16 Canon City office hours, 2 p.m. — ­ 4 p.m.

Every Wednesday at the Canon City Hampton Inn, WINS members and employees gather to talk about work related issues.

Contact Cheryl Feinsilver: or (719) 429-7225

MAY 22 Dept. of Higher Education call, 6:30 p.m.

Every other Tuesday, higher education employees join a call hosted by WINS members to discuss issues facing them. Contact Nicholas Voss: or (303) 937-6498

MAY 22 Telephone Town Hall, 7 p.m.

Join hundreds of WINS members and state employees for a Colorado WINS tele town hall to discuss pressing issues affecting state employees. Contact Brian Tanner: or (303) 937-6490

MAY 24 Dept. of Transportation call, 7 p.m.

Every other Thursday, CDOT employees join a call hosted by WINS members to discuss issues facing them. Contact Greg Goldman at or Rosario DeBaca at or (720) 256-7482

MAY 28-30 SEIU International Convention, Denver

Thousands of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members and five Colorado WINS delegates will convene. For volunteer opportunities or to attend social events, contact Brian Tanner: or (303) 937-6490

JUNE 6 All-Pueblo meeting, 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The first Wednesday of every month at the Pueblo WINS office, members and employees who live or work around Pueblo gather to discuss issues facing state employees in the area. Contact Emma Erbach: or (719) 545-0677

JUNE 9 Dept. of Human Services leadership summit

Across the state, DHS members will come together to develop plans and tackle issues facing them. Contact Nicholas Voss: or (303) 937-6498

JUNE 18-22 AFSCME International Convention, Los Angeles

Thousands of American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees (AFSCME) members and three Colorado WINS delegates will convene.

JUNE TBD All-Grand Junction meeting

Members and employees around Mesa County will begin monthly meetings in June to discuss issues facing employees on the western slope. Contact Eric Shaffer: or (970) 261-9096

JULY 26-30 AFT International Convention, Detroit.

Thousands of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) members and five Colorado WINS delegates will convene.

JULY TBD District Chapter meetings

Members across the state will nominate and elect a District Chapter Chair (WINS Vice President), Vice-Chair and delegates to represent them at the 2012 Colorado WINS Convention.

For information on Chapter meetings near you, contact your representative (list on page 2) or Brian Tanner at or (303) 937-6490

JULY TBD Dept. of Corrections leadership summit

Across the state, DOC members will come together to develop plans and tackle issues facing them. Contact Nicholas Voss: or (303) 937-6498

SEPT. 21-22 Colorado WINS Convention, Denver

Delegates will be selected at their respective District Chapter meetings. For more information, contact your representative (list on page 2) or Brian Tanner at or (303) 937-6490

New pay system passes, WINS neutral on ballot measure On May 2, the state legislature passed HB 1321, which contains the new merit pay system and makes changes to retention rights. It heads to the Governor to be signed into law.* The measure will not need voter approval before it takes effect on Sept. 1. The passage of this legislation represents a huge step toward achieving the first raise for state employees in four years. Conversations have just begun with the Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) over the new retention rights that should influence the rule making process this summer. To understand this a little bit better, visit our website for frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) about bumping rights. The legislature referred HCR 1001 to the November general election ballot where it will appear as a referendum question. HCR 1001 affects seven areas of the state personnel system:

• Expanding the veterans’ preference • Increasing ‘Rule of 3’ to ‘Rule of 6’ for the number of candidates eligible for a position

• Adjusting duration of temporary employees from 6 months to 9 months (prohibits successive appointments) • Capping the number of exemptions to 1% of the classified workforce; only enumerated positions • Modifying residency requirement for facilities near the border


E T 12 0 A 2 , D 22 / 1 2 E R E B V EM A T SSEP Need more info? Contact Brian Tanner (303) 937-6490

Personnel Board; limits “at-will” appointments

• Changing “competitive tests” to “comparative analysis based upon objective criteria” for meritbased appointments Because we believe that the integrity of the personnel system will remain intact regardless of the outcome of the vote, Colorado WINS will not take a position on the referendum. It will be up to Coloradans to decide the final outcome and our goal is to make sure voters understand what this measure does or does not do. HCR 1001 will not become law unless approved by a majority vote in the November election. Colorado WINS will remain an active, vigilant voice on issues affecting state employees. The next five months will be an opportunity for Coloradans to better understand state employees and their contributions to communities across the state. To help generate discussion around the personnel referendum question, a new website is in development - that will allow you to discuss the pro’s and con’s on the measure in an open forum. This site will be centered on the state employee perspective of this ballot measure and give you the facts on how this measure impacts you. *HB 1321 has not been signed into law as of publication

Make your voice heard in critical 2012 elections KEY ELECTION DATES: • MAY


Last day to register to vote in the Primary Election





First day ballots may be mailed in the Primary Election Primary Election





Last day to register to vote in the General Election

Colorado WINS Member Convention Denver, CO

• Adjusting the term limits for members of the State

First day ballots may be mailed in the General Election

The 2012 elections are just around the corner! Starting this month, we begin our electoral efforts to determine who represents us in the Colorado legislature for the 2013 legislative session. Legislators have had their say through votes for months now. This summer and fall, we’ll cast our ballots to determine who will be voting on our behalf a year from now. As the Denver Post recently reported, there will be a historic number of new faces in this year’s elections, with 33 of 100 legislators leaving office for an assortment of reasons. Over the following months there will be numerous opportunities to engage and educate future legislators on the importance of the work we do and the services we provide. From contributing to our COPE program to talking with voters at their homes, it’s critical we support candidates who earn our endorsement. State employees need legislators who will advocate for working families and public services. That’s why our focus will be on electing pro-worker candidates who will champion our causes. Not sure if you’re registered to vote at your current address? Need to change your voter registration information? Changing your voter registration information has never been easier. First, go to (the official Secretary of State website) to register to vote or verify your voter information. To register online, you’ll need your Colorado Driver’s License number or ID card number. If you’d like to vote by mail, remember to check the box “Yes, I want to be a permanent mail-in voter” If you’re verifying voter information, make sure your registration status is “Active” and there is a “Y” for the permanent mail-in line. Questions or feedback? Contact Brian Tanner: 303.937.6490 or

State budget

continued from p. 1

DPA’s open enrollment, which ends May 16th, reflect no health premium increase for any tier. But while the health rates were significantly improved, the dental contribution rates still went up. This is a reminder that the partnership process is essential in dealing with the challenges facing the state workforce. Colorado WINS shouldn’t just be a voice for additional resources, but an active participant when it comes to structuring compensation and benefit offerings. NEARLY 500 JOBS SAVED One JBC proposal had a 2% personal services reduction, which the Governor’s office and department

heads made clear would lead to nearly 500 layoffs in various departments. Colorado WINS opposed any layoffs and fought off some legislators’ efforts to cut jobs as a way to fund health care premiums. In the end, we helped strike a compromise with a 1% personal services reduction with some exemptions and the Governor’s office made clear that departments could manage the 1% cut without layoffs. THE FUTURE The state budget for 2012-13 is a step in the right direction and a lot of work remains to build on our accomplishments and fight for the first raise in more than four years. State employees need an advocate for working families, which is why our focus during the 2012 elections will be on pro-worker candidates.

Our Voice, May 2012  

Our Voice is the official publication and newsletter of Colorado WINS.