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从大流行中恢复, Colorado must invest directly in the workers who are getting us through it

从大流行中恢复, Colorado must invest directly in the workers who are getting us through it.

作者:Angelika Stedman,注册护士

For nearly a year, Coloradans have faced unprecedented threats to the health of our communities. 在这一切, essential workers have gotten us through the worst of the p和emic 和 are keeping our communities 和 economy going. Many of those frontline workers are Colorado’s state employees, who work tirelessly to fulfill our commitment to the health of everyone in our community. Although you may not see the behind the scenes work state employees perform daily, we provide critical services keeping people in every one of Colorado’s 64 counties fed, 清洁, 安全, 和健康.

不幸的是, 慢性人员配备不足, 低工资, 和 eroding benefits have caused many experienced 和 talented state employees to leave the jobs they love 和 seek out other job opportunities to provide for their families. 事实上,政府雇员的平均工资, 16.少4% 比类似行业的员工要多, 这一差距每年都在稳步扩大, 即使在经济繁荣时期.

This trend has been made even worse by the dem和s the p和emic has placed on the people taking care of Coloradans. I work as a psychiatric registered nurse at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP). 多年来, CMHIP has struggled to attract 和 retain talented 和 qualified employees, which hurts the very patients we work to serve (the turnover rate in Colorado’s Dept. 公共服务部门 23.在17/18财年占1%, 28.18/19财年的3%, 和 23.4% in 19/20它是全州最高的州之一). CMHIP是两名住院患者之一, behavioral health service hospitals operated by the state that aid individuals with mental health screenings, 药物滥用问题, 以及其他心理健康问题.

Low pay 和 increased workloads mean  state employees must work overtime or double shifts to try to provide the services Coloradans need. The dem和ing nature of our work compounds the problem, leading to staff exhaustion 和 compromising the 安全ty of our fellow employees 和 our clients. When dedicated employees are incentivized to look for employment elsewhere, Colorado’s vulnerable populations are left in even more precarious conditions. CMHIP并不孤单. Chronic low staffing plagues state employees across departments, with 五分之一的州职位空缺. We’re just one example of how our community is impacted by lack of investment in public services.

But state employees like me are hoping the coronavirus p和emic has taught us one thing: to recover from this global emergency we must invest in the essential workers who got us through it. Last year, state employees won our right to collectively bargain a contract with the state. 今年, we will use our new opportunity to reimagine how we drive investment into jobs 和 essential services that serve Colorado communities. That means making sure frontline workers have a voice on the job when it comes to changing how public services are funded 和 delivered. 在10bet体育登录注册的合同谈判中, we will be advocating for filling the vacancies which lead to un安全 staffing levels, raising wages to ensure people working for the state can support their families 和 that Colorado can retain employees, 和 improving benefits like leave 和 insurance options.

但在10bet体育登录注册为更好的未来谈判合同的同时, we need immediate federal investment in public services. 美国救援计划, 总统乔·拜登的冠状病毒救助提案, includes $350 billion dollars earmarked for state 和 local governments. These funds could help decrease the pressure state employees have been feeling since the coronavirus p和emic 和 allow for a much-needed breath of relief, but only if we ensure that money is invested in the working people of Colorado who have carried us through the p和emic.

I hope Colorado legislators 和 other elected leaders will join us in calling on Senators Bennet 和 Hickenlooper to vote to send federal aid back home. I also hope our legislators invest that money in Colorado’s working people, including state employees who have been on the frontlines of the response. Our work has kept Colorado from plunging deeper into a crisis 和 lawmakers will have a chance this legislative session to acknowledge that by ensuring public services are prioritized for funding.

The ability to work h和s-on with patients at CMHIP is one of the joys of being a state employee, 和 seeing patients enter back into society after rehabilitation is one of the most rewarding parts of my career. 然而, seeing my fellow coworkers struggle because of 低工资, 枯竭的士气, or fearing for their physical 安全ty is heartbreaking. We can 和 we must do better by the people who are answering the call to this crisis 和 the people who depend on the critical work we do. Right now, we need federal aid to shore up public services 和 beat back this p和emic. 但从长远来看, Colorado’s elected leaders must commit to investing in essential services to make them sustainable 和 be better prepared for future crises.

Angelika Stedman is a Registered Nurse who has worked at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP) for three years. 她是科罗拉多WINS的成员, 代表国家雇员的工会, 和 was elected to serve on the bargaining committee negotiating for a new contract for state employees.