Largest union campaign a success in Colorado

In less than a year, Colorado’s 32,000 state employees have been unionized in what was considered to be the largest labor organizing campaign in the nation.

Labor union Colorado WINS added 22,500 state workers to its ranks in June, after five state employee groups participated in a mail-in election and voted for union representation.

The remaining workers voted to unionize by mail-in ballot in August during the media frenzy building up to the Democratic National Convention, choosing again to be represented by Colorado WINS.

In November, Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter issued an executive order recognizing state workers’ efforts to form employee organizations that negotiate workplace issues and collectively bargain, although partnerships don’t have the right to strike or participate in binding arbitration.

Although Colorado WINS conducted a massive effort to organize the state workers shortly after the executive order was announced, state employees were also organizers in the union campaign.

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.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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