Colorado Care Workers Unite was founded in 2018 to bring our priorities as caregivers to the forefront in decisions that affect us, our families and our clients.
We, Colorado care workers, do essential, compassionate work. We take care of loved ones and families. Yet, we struggle to pay our own rent and put food on the table for our own families. Here in Colorado, and across the nation, the demand for home care is rapidly increasing, but the system doesn’t work for anyone. We can’t afford to keep doing this work, even when we desperately want to.
That’s why care workers and consumers are coming together. We’re demanding a living wage for care workers, the right to form a union without retaliation, and a care system that works for everyone. Home care workers in states like Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Washington organized and won higher wages and benefits. Colorado can and needs to do better. Now is the time to make care jobs good jobs here in our state.
Despite doing the work that allows older Americans and people with disabilities to live with dignity in their own homes, care workers are paid so little they can’t afford to take care of their own families. Colorado Care Workers Unite is creating an opportunity for workers to stand together for better pay, rights on the job and to provide a well-trained workforce that meets the needs of our growing aging population.
Training & Tools
The "Direct Care Workforce Stabilization Board" SB23-261 signed by Governor Polis!
This bill sets up a process by which those most impacted by Colorado’s care crisis–direct care workers, people who receive care, employers—and government officials can come together to make recommendations to address chronically low wages, benefits and other issues that are driving care workers to leave the industry in record numbers.
Rest In Power, Marilyn
We are devastated by the news of the passing of our care worker sister, a relentless fighter for workers’ rights, and founding member of Colorado Care Workers Unite, Marilyn Sorensen.
Marilyn made her voice heard for years as we fought to raise wages for care workers and all Coloradans. Her advocacy inspired us all, and her leadership brought together care workers from every corner of our state.
This picture of Marilyn was taken during the signing of the $15 minimum wage for direct care workers in Colorado. A moment of pure joy that Marilyn played a pivotal role in accomplishing, and she was just getting started.
We will deeply miss her, and we will continue her fight for her fellow care workers everywhere. Rest in Power, Marilyn. Your fight will always live on!
Colorado Care Workers Are Celebrating A Fight For Fifteen Victory!
Governor Polis & the Joint Budget Committee announced that Colorado would enact a plan to increase Medicaid funded home care workers’ pay to a minimum of $15/hour.
Despite this momentous pay increase, the fight is not over.
We are demanding a transformative industry that invests long term in its workers, clients and communities.
As COVID hits, care workers showed up for Colorado
Even as a pandemic spread across the globe, care workers showed up as the heroes we have always been.
We put ourselves on the frontlines not only for our clients and patients, but also for our industry, families and fellow care workers.
We continued to advocate for the passage of FOUR historic bills
- Paid sick time for all Colorado workers
- Whistleblower protections for workers who report safety violations
- Increased law enforcement accountability
- State worker collective bargaining rights
organized getting PPE and delivered over 2000 masks across the state of Colorado when employers wouldn’t
These victories for public safety and workers’ rights clarified how crucial care workers are to a safe and healthy society.
We also launched a survey that care workers have used to tell the real, everyday story of what they were experiencing in real time. Care workers voiced their concerns, challenges and make clear the demands they have to be protected and supported throughout the pandemic. Several thousands have completed the survey, growing our numbers dramatically.
This is one tactic we have used to build power to win major campaigns, but also meet care workers where they’re at in all of their pain, anxiety and determination.
Care Workers Have Fought And Won!
In advance of the legislative session, CCWU members & allies began meeting with elected officials at the state capitol, knocking on doors to encourage other care workers to join us, and sharing our stories so the world began to understand the unfair working conditions and wages we were up against.
From there, we convinced more than 600 people to sign a petition in support of Senate Bill 19-238: An Act to Strengthen and Enhance the Home Care Workforce.
Finally, after the passage of SB 19-238, the Department Of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) established a process to review and enforce training requirements for home care workers.
None of these victories would have been possible without the leadership of CCWU members across the state.
Care Workers Form Colorado Care Workers Unite
By 2018, care workers across the state had been working in coalition with other industries for several years to get raising the minimum wage on the Colorado ballot.
Inspired by the stories they heard and experiences they shared while knocking on neighborhood doors and testifying at the legislature, care workers began planting the seeds for the creation of their own union.
It was clear that they needed a space to come together to advocate for better wages, dignity on the job and improved access to professional training on the job.
Together they created Colorado Care Workers Unite (CCWU) and began planning how to change legislation, the industry and their worksites as a united front.
Organizing committees popped up around the state and still meet regularly today.