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Democratic Leadership Refuses to Engage on Living Wage for Staff


For Immediate Release

Mar 11, 2024

Secretary-Treasurer, Hailey Shea McMoore

Chair, Drew Nesmith (501) 258-9764

Vice-Chair, Isabela Martinez (720) 917-6897

Democratic Leadership Refuses to Engage on Living Wage for Staff

DENVER, Colorado – The Political Workers Guild of Colorado (PWG) is a first of its kind union representing political staff, campaign workers, and organizers across the state. Since its inception in 2021, PWG has negotiated with Democratic leadership to secure better working conditions and increased wages for legislative aides. These negotiations have stalled for FY 24-25 due to Democratic leaderships’ refusal to engage.

The Legislative Aide staff provide essential support to the lawmaking abilities & public access of and to the Colorado General Assembly. Currently compensated at $23/hr, aides are responsible for constituent support, office management, and all aspects of crafting policy. “We are overworked, disrespected, underpaid; and yet without us, the 120 Day Legislative Session would grind to a halt,” says an anonymous aide. 

PWG is asking for a historic investment in more than just the aide corps, but in the legislature as a whole. A living wage of $30/hr, with the full benefits that every other employee of the General Assembly receives, is also an investment in a capable and experienced workforce that will make legislators more effective lawmakers. Making this investment will be a sizable commitment towards continuing to build sustained expertise, experience and integrity within the Legislature. 

“We are asking to no longer be exploited by the same institution we work for, rather to be a part of the institution we work for by ensuring every aide is compensated, heard and seen!” said one anonymous aide.

Despite their claims of ‘immense gratitude and appreciation’ for legislative aides, Democratic leadership has refused to engage with PWG during negotiations for a living wage. This refusal to engage began in February 2024 when Democratic leadership ignored PWG’s pay structure counter proposal, and continued in March 2024 with their outright refusal to meet with PWG after union members called for more than the $1.57/hr cost of living raise offered by leadership. 

It is disheartening to see Democratic leadership abandon the labor values they campaign on when it comes time to pay their staff a living wage. To date, 24 members of the Democratic caucus have signed on to a letter of support calling for Democratic leadership to re-engage in negotiations to fairly compensate legislative aides (listed below)

Rep. Manny Rutinel

Rep. Tim Hernandez

Rep. Jenny Willford

Rep. William Lindstedt

Rep. Sheila Lieder

Rep. Julia Marvin

Rep. Elizabeth Velasco 

Rep. Jennifer Parenti 

Rep. Mike Weissman

Rep. Eliza Hamrick

Rep. Chad Clifford

Rep. Javier Mabrey 

Rep. Mathew Martinez

Rep. Tisha Mauro

Rep. Steph Vigil

Rep. Elizabeth Epps

Rep. Alex Valdez

Rep. Kyle Brown

Rep. Junie Joseph 

Rep. Steven Woodrow 

Rep. Judy Amabile

Senator Nick Hinrichsen

Senator Faith Winter

Senator Chris Kolker 

Senator Lisa Cutter

— more —


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