State workers, care workers, airport workers, and others rally in Colorado to demand living wages, safe working conditions

09/15/2021

"Millions of workers are called essential but treated as though we’re disposable."

Gathering at the State Capitol in Denver and other locations throughout the state, workers and community activists called on lawmakers to protect, respect, and pay essential workers. While the pandemic has revealed just how much Colorado depends on essential workers,  employers pay them so little that they struggle to support their own families. State workers, care workers, and airport workers stand in solidarity as they fight for a better future for their families. 

“I work with young people in crisis for the Department of Youth Services, and they need us to show up every day no matter what.  Yet, too many employers--including the state of Colorado--pay essential workers wages so low that it’s hard for our own families to survive. I know this firsthand because until recently, I had to work many hours of overtime each month just to make ends meet.  I have a young kid, and I miss out on important times with him.  But my rent went up more than our pay, so the state’s low wages left me with no choice.  My passion is helping kids--but I shouldn’t have to sacrifice my own to do this work,” said Taneska McQueen, bargaining team member Colorado WINS.

“This isn’t just happening in care. Millions of workers are called essential but treated as though we’re disposable. It is time for elected leaders to do their part to rewrite the rules to turn care jobs and EVERY job into a GOOD JOB that pays a living wage with the opportunity to join a union,” said Charmayne Phillips, a home care worker and Colorado Care Workers Unite! Member.

“At this point in the pandemic, we need support more than ever. For state workers, something has to change.  That’s why we have come together to negotiate a contract with the state to begin addressing the fundamental problems hurting us and the people we serve. We’re negotiating for better staffing, competitive wages, and safer working conditions, which will benefit workers and our communities,” said Colorado WINS president Skip Miller.

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