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CEA Statement: Confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2022

Colorado Education Association Statement on the Confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court

DENVER – Today, the United States Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson’s confirmation makes her the first female African-American appointed to our nation’s highest court. The following statement can be attributed to Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association:

“The 39,000 members of the Colorado Education Association celebrate the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court. Her appointment and confirmation after a lifetime of dedicated public service is a testament to hard work and perseverance.

“The barriers and roadblocks to Judge Jackson’s confirmation were well-displayed for all to see and represents the work we still have to do in order for our children to grow up in a world where anyone, no matter the color of their skin or how much money their parents make, can dream and achieve anything.”

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About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is the voice of 39,000 educators, working together in a strong union to ensure all students get the exceptional public schools they deserve, in every neighborhood across the state. As Colorado’s largest labor union, CEA works collectively with all education stakeholders to ensure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.

CEA Media Release: Colorado Education Association Members Rally with Collective Bargaining Bill Coalition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2022

Colorado Education Association Members Rally with Coalition
Calls on Lawmakers to Introduce Collective Bargaining Bill

DENVER – Today members of the Colorado Education Association (CEA) participated in a rally on the west steps of the State Capitol as a part of the coalition Public Workers United Colorado, calling on lawmakers to introduce a statewide collective bargaining bill. The proposed bill, sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-HD46) and Sen. Steve Fenberg (D-SD18), would give all public employees in the state of Colorado the right to form and be recognized as a union.

“Coloradans want all of our students to thrive and succeed, and public school educators are actually the experts on how to make that happen,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association. “The problem is our voices are too often dismissed and even disrespected in some circles. That’s why all K-12 educators absolutely deserve collective-bargaining rights.”

“Every single worker in Colorado deserves the right to choose a union with collective bargaining rights, especially public workers like us,” said Jennifer Muñoz, secretary and member of Jefferson County Support Professionals Association. “We are the ones working for Colorado students and parents every day, both in and out of the classroom. We are experts in our field, and can speak firsthand to the challenges Colorado students and educators currently face, and how we can all work together to overcome them.”

The bill has yet to be introduced and the CEA and its partners are continuing to work with the bill sponsors and stakeholders to introduce legislation to ensure all public workers, the very workers who have been on the frontlines in our communities, across the state are covered.

About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is the voice of 39,000 educators, working together in a strong union to ensure all students get the exceptional public schools they deserve, in every neighborhood across the state. As Colorado’s largest labor union, CEA works collectively with all education stakeholders to ensure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.

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Member Spotlight: Zander Bednall

Zander Bednall, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, moved to Jefferson County 6 years ago and became a food service worker in Jefferson County School District. Although he wasn’t aware at the beginning, he
soon learned how low a priority healthy food is for students in Jeffco. With a grisly budget and an even grislier lack of nutritious options standing in the way, he made it a personal quest to find a way to provide access to free healthy food for all students. He’s organized many in his community, from teachers, to parents, to fellow ESPs to raise awareness that feeding our students what they deserve to eat is important to their education, and that profits from junk food sales have to stop.

Zander truly is an educator and takes his role as a food service worker very seriously. His first role working with kids was as a cook for a daycare. When he started working for Jeffco, he fell in love with the job and quickly found satisfaction in his work. Zander’s favorite thing in his work is teaching. He spends time teaching his students how to become conscious consumers and how to be sustainable. He believes that sharing the joy of cooking and eating healthy food with students is an important role for food service workers.

JESPA member Zander Bednall stands at a podium speaking

Zander decided to run for president of the Jefferson County Support Professionals Association (JESPA) food service local, Jefferson County School Food Services Association (JCSFSA) and became active with Coloradoans for the Common Good (CCG). He has led the effort to make sure healthy food for students is at the top of both JESPA’s and CCG’s list of priorities. He’s been working to organize coworkers to make
change in Jeffco. Zander’s now joined the JESPA bargaining team and plans to make sure food service workers’ voices are elevated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

He is a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast, plays the drums in a metal band called Liontortoise, and is engaged to be married.

Zander Bednall is a food service worker in Jefferson County and a proud member of the Jefferson County Support Professionals Association.

We Deserve the Retirement Benefits We Were Promised

One benefit most educators in Colorado look forward to is their PERA (Public Employee Retirement Association) benefit. Our educators, whether they are early career, late career, or retired, do their share to make sure PERA is as sustainable as possible.

When I was an early career educator, retirement was only a dream but I had faith in the fact that I and my district contributed to a plan that would allow me to retire with dignity.

Sure enough, by the time I retired, I had a nice, guaranteed income that hopefully I can count on for the rest of my life.

There have been a few changes along the way: employee contributions have increased, retiree benefits do not increase as much as they did and employers must contribute a great deal more. Through it all, PERA has a plan to be fully funded and from an actuarial standpoint, I hope it is sustainable.

With educators leaving the profession earlier and not as many people going into it, I worry about PERA’s future. I trust the legislation that has been put in place to protect investments to keep PERA solvent. Senate Bill (SB) 18-200 increased the contributions and slowed down the payment increases but it also committed the State to contribute $225 million per year to shore up PERA. In the Spring of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the entire State budget had to be cut by several billion dollars and one of the first things to go was the $225 million PERA contribution. Fast forward to the next year and an upswing in the economy and the $225 million was put back in.

This session, Rep. Shannon Bird (HD35) is sponsoring a bill to reverse any damage that might have been done to the PERA investments in 2020. Not only does this bill recommend backfilling the $225 million lost that year, but also contributing the $60 million that was lost in interest for the year it was not invested.

It is always nice to have a legislator who has your back. If this bill passes, it will reap benefits for years to come and ensures those of us collecting our retirement checks from PERA will not have to worry about future retirement income. Please thank Rep. Bird for her advocacy. She can be reached at Shannon.bird.house@state.co.us.

Lori Goldsein is a retired special education teacher and president of CEA-Retired.