Mail-in ballots that will decide the unionization of some state workers into employee partnerships are being counted behind locked doors today by an independent mediator in Denver.
The organizing push has been called the largest union campaign in the country by labor officials.
Last month, five occupational groups of state employees received ballots to determine whether they want to be represented by Colorado WINS, a coalition 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. The deadline for casting votes was Tuesday.
The American Arbitration Association, an independent mediator, is counting the votes now, and results are expected to come some time this afternoon. According to an association representative, more than 30 percent of eligible state workers participated in the election, which is typical in similar efforts.
In November, Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter issued an executive order recognizing state workers’ efforts to form employee organizations that negotiate workplace issues, although such partnerships will not have the right to strike or to binding arbitration.
State officials and Colorado WINS supporters are observing the vote counting which is being conducted by hand by arbitration association staff.
Stay tuned for the results later today.
UPDATE: Preliminary results as of 12:55 p.m. MDT