Union Coalition Secures State Worker Ballots
At least three groups of state employees will participate in a mail-in vote to unionize under a labor coalition after ballot petitions passed one of the last administrative hurdles earlier this week.
Union coalition Colorado WINS turned in five petitions in late March seeking a union election for five groups of state workers. The groups include employees in administrative support, enforcement services, physical sciences, labor trades and health care services.
Colorado’s labor division had designated a period of time for additional union groups to submit ballot petitions for state workers. Other labor organizations were given until April 11 to turn in petitions for the enforcement group of state workers, and the labor trades and physical sciences groups had until April 16.
Both deadlines have passed without another labor organization submitting calls for union elections, according to state labor division data, meaning that those three groups of state employees will likely see mail-in ballots by next month to vote to form a union under Colorado WINS.
The petition deadline for the administrative support group is April 23, and health care services will see a petition cut-off date of April 21.
In November, Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter issued an executive order recognizing state workers’ efforts to form employee organizations that negotiate workplace issues.
Colorado WINS is composed of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); the Colorado Association of Public Employees/Service Employees International Union (CAPE/SEIU); and the American Federation of Teachers
How The Process Works
A union is required to submit petitions to the state division of labor showing that 30 percent of the total number of covered employees in a state worker group have requested an election. The petitions are then verified by an independent arbitration mediator, and the labor division sets a deadline for other union groups to submit petitions.
The independent mediator will then conduct a mail-in election of all applicable employees in the state worker group to decide on union representation. The petitioning union/s will cover the election expenses. Results will then be counted in the presence of both state and union representatives. The decision for unionization needs to be made by a majority of voters.
A Few State Worker Group Occupations
Administrative support – includes administrative assistants, drivers license examiners and customer service representatives
Enforcement services – includes corrections case managers, parole officers and criminal investigators
Physical sciences – includes engineers, landscape architects and land surveyors
Labor trades – includes electricians, custodians, barbers and groundskeepers
Healthcare services – includes physicians, social workers and nurses
Colorado WINS has submitted petitions to unionize a total 17,236 covered employees so far, just more than half of the state’s estimated number of 32,000 state workers.
Administrative support – 4,759 eligible
Enforcement services – 1,624 eligible
Physical sciences – 1,911 eligible
Labor trades – 5,380 eligible
Healthcare services – 3,562 eligible
All data provided by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.