On the afternoon of February 12, the Denver City Council again voted on the “No Freezing Sweeps” bill in their chambers, but this time the vote was to potentially override Mayor Mike Johnston’s veto of the Council’s passage of the bill. When the roll call took place, each council member voted exactly as they did on January 29 — seven ayes, six nays — yet this time, that vote count resulted in the official failure of the bill. At least nine “aye” votes were needed for a successful override. “Each and every one of ya’ll that voted ‘no,’ ya’ll just voted to kill people!” Jerry Burton of Housekeys Action Network Denver (HAND), a local advocacy group for houseless people and their rights, was one of a few people who stood up and yelled at the City Council after the bill was officially voted down.
The tenant of a two-story house in east Denver had been expecting Kevin Lewis when he knocked on her door this past June. After a brief introduction and a glance around the home, Lewis quickly checked the water pressure, power outlets and the cooling sources in each room. He reached a wiry arm up to a ceiling smoke alarm and pressed a button, prompting a chirp to echo through the house. “Music to my ears,” Lewis said, already halfway to the basement to make sure the boiler had a working gas line connection. Minutes later, Lewis was gone — on to the next house. Lewis wasn’t sent by the city to investigate a complaint, nor by a prospective buyer.
On October 4, 75,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities in several US states are set to go on strike for three days following the breakdown of contract negotiations last week. A coalition of several unions representing health workers in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, and Washington, DC is battling the nonprofit health giant for safe staffing levels, cost of living pay increases, and against a two-tier pay system that Kaiser is trying to introduce. The largest union in the coalition is Service Employees International Union (SEIU)-United Healthcare Workers West (UHW) with 57,443 members, but the coalition also includes Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 30, SEIU Local 49, OPEIU Local 2 and others.
Unions representing more than 85,000 healthcare workers have held pickets at 50 facilities across California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado amid new contract negotiations as their current union contracts are set to expire on 30 September. The negotiations at Kaiser Permanente are the third largest set of contract negotiations in the US in 2023, behind the 340,000 workers at UPS who will be voting on a tentative agreement this month that was reached days before planned strike action, and 150,000 autoworkers at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis whose contracts are set to expire on 14 September.
When Mylene Vialard followed her 21-year-old daughter across the US to join the thousands of the resistance by Water Protectors led by Indigenous women at Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, her aim was clear: to help make change, not just for the Indigenous people whose treaty rights, lifeways, and bodies have been violated, but for everyone. What she didn’t know was how much the experience would change her. That was two years ago. Today, up to 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil (bitumen), a particularly resource-intensive and harmful form of crude petroleum, gush from Alberta to Wisconsin through the completed pipeline, and the Boulder-based activist is one of several activists around the US who face felony charges in northern Minnesota’s Aitkin County. Vialard’s trial is the week of August 28.
Commerce City, Colorado - On June 24, rank-and-file Teamsters stood out in front of the gate of the Commerce City UPS hub outside Denver to speak out against the economic proposals UPS submitted during negotiations. These proposals include wildly unpopular ideas, such as the creation of a two-tier wage system for preloaders and a $17 per hour starting wage. As people were walking out of the gate, many workers flocked to the table, insulted by these proposals and ready for further action. “They think we're worth $17 an hour; this is what UPS thinks of their preloaders,” Kat Draken, a Teamster shop steward, furiously stated, “they must think we're joking about striking.”
Colorado will be the first state to require farm equipment makers to share or sell all the tools, manuals, and software that farmers need to fix their tractors and combines. So far this legislative session, 16 other states have introduced similar agriculture right-to-repair bills as farmers criticize the ways manufacturers monopolize their product repair, increasing maintenance costs and risking debilitating delays. Repair advocates hope that success in Colorado will prompt more state-level laws or a national resolution, whether that’s a federal law, antitrust enforcement action, or an improved memorandum of understanding with manufacturers.
"Welcome to Colorful Colorado,” reads the sign beside the highway as the road climbs from the alkaline flats of New Mexico into the foothills of the San Juan Mountains. But the landscape holds no color when Ana and her family cross the state line in the predawn dark. When the family arrives in Durango at 6:30 a.m., Ana’s husband goes to his construction job installing heating and A/C ducts. Ana waits at her sister’s house until the bus comes to take their son to school. Then, Ana goes to work, too, cleaning houses. This whole tiresome routine is new. Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, the family lived for seven years in Durango, where they found work and a supportive immigrant community.
Denver, Colorado – Thursday’s weather is expected to be one of the coldest on record in the city of Denver due to an arctic cold front, bringing temperatures to well below zero degrees with the wind chill. In the weeks leading up to this potentially record breaking cold, medical health professionals with Denver Health and Hospital Authority and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) wrote a joint letter to two city directors recommending the city “take immediate steps to address current deficiencies in 1) criteria used to determine when warming centers are open, and 2) policies and procedures related to forced displacements of unhoused individuals during cold-weather months.” The letter sent on Dec. 12 stated that when unhoused individuals “spend a prolonged amount of time in damp clothing and/or shoes as often occurs following forced displacement from tents,” their “risks for weather-related illness and injury increase exponentially.”
Colorado - Colorado voters are largely in favor of Proposition FF, which would provide the state’s students with free school meals — no matter their families’ incomes. With tax deduction limits in place, the price tag would fall on wealthy Coloradans. About 55% of voters backed the measure, with 1,011,114 votes, as of 9:07 a.m. on Wednesday, according to unofficial results on the Colorado Secretary of State Office’s website. That number includes all 64 counties, although post-election reporting is still in progress. The initiative would establish and fund the Healthy School Meals for All Program. It would boost taxes for households with incomes higher than $300,000 by curbing state income tax deductions. The move would impact about 114,000 joint and single-filer tax returns, or about 5% of those filed in Colorado.
Domestic workers — including people who care for children, tend gardens and clean other people’s homes — have new rights under a state law that went into effect this summer. HB22-1367 officially says domestic workers are “employees,” just the same as those who work for a boss at an office or a factory. It went into effect Aug. 10. That means nannies, gardeners and others are now protected by the state’s civil rights laws, according to employment attorney Rachel Ellis of Livelihood Law.
Boulder, Colorado – On June 4, 2022, an evangelical event series called Let Us Worship kicked off their summer tour in the plains of Northern Colorado along the Rocky Mountains’ Front Range. As their worshiping began outside of Vinelife Church, dozens of protesters marched along the west side of a barbed wire fence separating the church’s property from public land. They got as close to the stage as possible where Sean Feucht, the organization’s founder, was performing music and stirring up his audience, to disrupt the event and the organization’s agenda of spreading Christian Nationalist ideologies. For two hours, the queer, antifascist, and pro-abortion activists used silly string, pots and pans, bucket drums, whistles, megaphones, chants, banners and signs, and a sound system.
Labor unions have been fighting to secure the right to unionize and collectively bargain for more than 250,000 public sector workers at cities, schools, colleges and counties in Colorado. Today, 24 US states, including Colorado, prohibit or limit collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, resulting in significant discrepancies in union density and wages among public sector workers in these states compared with states that mandate public employers to bargain with workers. Unions have also been pushing for Congress to pass a bill to expand collective bargaining rights to all public sector workers across the US through the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.
Durango, Colorado - On a cold January day at the height of ski season, as tourists check into Durango’s resort hotels and wealthy vacationers roll suitcases into their second homes, Alejandra Chavez pulls away from her single wide trailer on the outskirts of town and drives the two-lane road south to look for a new place to live in New Mexico. Chavez dreads the prospect of making this same 1.5‑hour-drive, back and forth, every day, but she sees few options. Her work is in Durango, but Durango, it seems, may no longer have a home for her. Chavez, 30, moved to the area 18 years ago to join her parents, who fled economic desolation in Mexico and found work in Durango. In 2008, the family bought their trailer in Westside Mobile Home Park for $12,000.