Headlines Jan. 25, 2022
King Soopers Union Ratifies Agreement
Denver area King Soopers employees with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 voted to ratify a three-year contract with the grocer Monday. The ratification officially ends the strike that began on January 12th.
The union did not release details on the contract but said it secured the most significant wage increase ever by a UFCW local for grocery workers. According to 9 news, highlights of the new contract include wage increases of at least $2/hr in the first year of the contract and some workers receiving wage increases over $5/hr.
The union stated in its press statement it had successfully negotiated better health care, protected benefits, more stringent safety measures, and new pathways for full-time employment.
Workers at stores in other parts of Colorado will vote on the contract over the next week.
Superior Starbucks Employees Announce Plan To Unionize
Employees at a Starbucks in Superior are undergoing efforts to unionize.
The effort began late last month after workers at a Buffalo-area Starbucks store successfully voted to form a union in early December.
According to The Denver Business Journal, 24 full and part-time baristas and shift supervisors at the Superior location filed a petition on Dec. 30 with the National Labor Relations Board to become a bargaining unit under Workers United/Service Employees International Union.
Workers from the Superior store filed the petition after the company did not voluntarily recognize the union.
On the same day of the petition, the employees also posted an open letter to Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson with workers asking for improved store security, better pay and hours while expressing a need for their work to be a sustainable career.
Pete DeMay, organizing director for Workers United in Colorado, told the Denver Business Journal, a NLRB hearing concerning the petition will occur this week with a mail ballot election likely coming in four to six weeks.
DeMay also said employees at other Denver metro area Starbucks will file petitions in the coming days to seek formal NLRB recognition.
Colorado Secretary Of State Investigating Elbert County Election Official
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced Monday her office has issued election orders and subpoenas to Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder, requiring him to disclose information concerning a potential security breach.
According to Griswold’s news release, Schroeder stated in his affidavit he made an image of the voting system hard drive sometime before August 27, 2021, but the affidavit did not provide information on how the copy was made or secured.
Griswold said Schroeder has not responded to multiple requests for information which prompted the issuance of an election order and subpoena to appear for a deposition.
Schroeder is the second clerk to be investigated by the Secretary of State. Griswold sued Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters last year alleging similar activity which has led to an ongoing criminal investigation of Peters.
Schroeder, along with the Douglas County Clerk and Recorder, Merlin Klotz, and county commissioners from Park and Rio Blanco counties, are plaintiffs in a lawsuit claiming the state’s election software was improperly certified in 2020. It also state that the secretary of state illegally destroyed election records, and that Griswold exceeded her authority by adopting emergency rules that prevented an election audit.
Griswold said in her press statement the lawsuit that conspiracy theories have fueled the lawsuit.
Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks from Fremont County began the suit against Griswold in mid-November. Hanks, who has announced a candidacy for U.S. Senate, has since withdrawn from the case.
According to Colorado Newsline, Hanks has repeatedly made false claims relating to the legitimacy of the 2020 election and crossed police lines during the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.
Lawmakers Seek Change On Definitions of “At-Risk” Students
Colorado lawmakers are looking at new ways of counting at-risk students after a 9% decrease in enrollment for the free lunch program. Under counting at-risk students means that school districts aren’t receiving as much money from the state as they should.
Lawmakers are looking to overhaul school-funding after finding numbers of students signing up for free or reduced-price lunch drop this year. They feel that the current definition of an “at-risk” student is no longer accurate. Tens of millions of dollars for the districts could be on the line.
The Colorado Sun reports that the state uses free and reduced-price lunch sign-ups to help determine numbers of students “at-risk.” The count on lunch sign-ups helps determine how much money school districts receive. But universal free lunch programs, implemented by many Colorado school districts during the pandemic, might mean many families felt that there is no need to sign up for the program.
State Rep. Julie McCluskie, the chairperson of the committee on school finance, says because the “at-risk” student count is a key component of the school financial formula, it is time to upgrade the formula.
State lawmakers plan to vote this week on modifications to how Colorado funds schools.
Denver Extends Employment Program For Unhoused Individuals
Denver City Council members approved a contract extension Monday to fund the Denver Day Works Program through Dec. 31st.
The work program, operated by Bayaud Enterprises, Inc., provides displaced and unhoused residents with temporary, low-to-no barrier employment such as event cleaning and street maintenance.
According to The Denver Gazette, program participants work six-hour workdays, once weekly for 10 weeks, and receive a $100 cash payment at the end of each day. The program also provides food and shelter resources at work sites and will attempt to secure 129 new job placements for participants during 2022.
The contract extension will cost the city just over $700,000.