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Workers Rally to Challenge Gov. Polis to Protect Their Rights

Posted on: May 24, 2024
Posted By: CEA Communications
Posted in: Advocacy | Legislative & Political | Press
Tagged: Legislative, Legislative Session

Workers, community and labor advocates, and legislators rallied at the State Capitol this afternoon to commend the legislature for standing with workers by passing legislation to ensure workplace protections and quality jobs and to express disappointment with the Governor’s failure to sign them.

man standing at rally with shirt that says Polis Failed Workers

Last Friday evening, Governor Polis vetoed three bills that would have helped working Coloradans. Rally attendees will call on the Governor to take steps to stand with workers going forward -including engaging with workers this summer and fall to learn of the challenges they face- and to commit his final two years in office to signing policies that support worker rights and well-paying jobs.

HB24-1008 The bill would have protected workers in the construction industry who are victims of wage theft by requiring general contractors to ensure all workers are paid on the projects they build and that their subcontractors take responsibility for paying workers.

“Wage theft happens every single day at job sites across Colorado,” said Jonathan Morales, an impacted worker. “I’ve been a victim of wage theft and I know many, many others who have been. Governor Polis failed us with his vetoes. But there is a way to make it right and we hope he’ll finally meet with us and work with us in a meaningful way so all Colorado workers have the protections they deserve.”

Senator Jessia Danielson speaking at Stand with Workers Rally“The legislature passed HB1008 with strong majorities because it recognized that victims of wage theft need more protections and better ways to get the wages they earned,” said Jordan Jones, a Representative for the Western States Regional Council of Carpenters. “A lot of those workers are paycheck-to-paycheck and they needed the Governor to support them. He failed and now he owes it to those workers to meet with them and adopt real fixes so folks aren’t missing rent and mortgage payments, aren’t forced to skip meals, and can take care of their families.”

HB24-1260 The bill would have prevented employers from retaliating against workers who choose to opt out of mandatory political or religious meetings in the workplace.

“These vetoes let down Colorado’s working families.” Said Sephanie Felix-Sowy, President of SEIU Local 105. “Workers across our state were counting on Governor Polis to sign these historic protections into law, including HB 1260 which would have protected workers from being forced to listen to religious, political or anti-union speech from their employer, and in failing to do so, he missed an opportunity to stand with workers. Moving forward, our members will continue to fight together every day to expand workers’ rights and protections, and to ensure that no worker in Colorado is left behind.”

Aurora Education Association member Bryan Lindstrom speaking at Stand with Workers Rally“I’m so disappointed in our Governor. Workers across Colorado put so much time into helping elect him because we believed he would be our champion.” said Bobby Schreiber, a life skills manager at Urban Peak and SEIU Local 105 member.  Seeing him veto historic protections like this is incredibly disappointing. Workers, especially those without a union, need to be protected from employer retaliation for simply not attending a meeting not related to their job, and he failed us.”

Colorado Education Association at Stand with Workers rally.

HB24-1307 The bill would have ensured high-road contractors are completing HVAC improvement projects in Colorado schools and ensuring those schools get the grants they need.

“Investing in school infrastructure is essential not only for the immediate well-being of our students and educators but also for the long-term success of our educational system,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and President of the Colorado Education Association. “This decision represents a missed opportunity to make a significant positive impact on the quality of education in Colorado, and it sends a troubling message about the prioritization of our state’s resources and the importance placed on the educational environment.”

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