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April 21, 2014

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The Colorado FOP Labor Council has been operational for just under 3 years.  During that time we have grown to 18 lodges encompassing 20 agencies and over 1,500 members.  We anticipate that growth to continue throughout 2011.  We have been informed that Broomfield Lodge 45, Rocky Mountain Lodge 100, and Denver Lodge 27 will be joining the Labor Council sometime after the first of the year.


As most of you are aware the Labor Council was established to address the ever increasing demand for expertise and assistance on workplace labor issues that traditional unions commonly provide their members.  Members increasingly viewed their FOP membership as more than just Legal Defense, and looked toward the FOP for services involving terms and conditions of employment.  The State FOP simply did not have the resources or the dues structure to properly serve its membership in that area.  Most local lodges do not have the expertise or resources to deal with those complex issues.  It was also recognized that eventual passage of bargaining legislation at either the National or State level would result in the need to provide labor training and contract negotiation services to a larger portion of the membership.  To fill that demand the Labor Council was established.  


Many lodges around the state, both Labor Council member and non-member alike, view the Labor Council as a primary service providing collective bargaining, contract negotiations, grievance processing, arbitration, and contract enforcement.  Although that is a major service for our Lodges that bargain, we do much more than that.  The fact is most of the issues we deal with, and where many workplace labor problems happen, is in lodges that do not have negotiated contracts or bargaining rights in place.   Those lodges tend to have more labor issues/problems and they make up a large portion of the work done by the Labor Council.  In fact we spend far more time and resources dealing with workplace problems and violations of law in non-labor lodges than we do in those that have negotiated contracts.


In cities where an FOP Lodge has a negotiated contract in place we see very few violations of the negotiated agreement.  And when violations do occur there is a grievance process in place to deal with them.  However, as previously stated the majority of FOP lodges do not have bargaining rights or negotiated contracts in place.  In those work environments basic workers’ rights fall back on federal and state legislation providing specific standards and protections; or on local code, ordinance, or charter provisions extending certain workplace standards, protections and rights to the employees. 


Hardly a week goes by when we are not fielding questions or providing assistance, opinion, or advice on labor issues and basic workers’ rights.  A major portion of the work we do involves violations or alleged violations concerning federal and state laws governing the FLSA (Fair Labor Standard Act), Employment Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Workman’s Compensation.  Non-bargaining Lodges find it difficult to address these possible violations involving workers rights.  They simply do not have the expertise, time, or resources to address member complaints involving FLSA, EEO, or Workmen’s’ Comp rules and provisions.  The leadership of Labor Council member lodges relies on their membership in the Labor Council to address those concerns and possible violations, and to take the necessary action when violations have occurred. 


That is the primary reason most lodges hold membership in the Labor Council.  Lodges rely on that membership as a service to their membership in addressing possible violations of statutory rights.  In addition to the primary service the Labor Council assists member lodges in local political action and developing positive relationships with City Council members and County Commissioners.  The Labor Council will also assist in writing Charter Amendments, Ordinances, and County Code granting collective bargaining and lobbying local government to adopt such legislation. 


The Labor Council uses three law firms that have established expertise in all services we provide.  I have listed below the law firms below along with the expertise they bring:


McCauley & Roach LLC


  • Collective Bargaining Negotiations 
  • Contract Article Review 
  • Grievance Consulting 
  • Arbitration/Fact-Finding 
  • Failure to comply with established city & county Policies & Procedures and/or Ordinances, Codes, and Charter Procedures concerning wages, benefits, and working conditions. 
  • Failure to comply or adhere to applicable State and Federal law governing wages, benefits, and working conditions.  Including FLSA rules violations. 

Fogel Keating Wagner Polidori Shafner, P.C.


  • Workman’s Comp Issues 
  • Disability claims

Elkus & Sisson, P.C.


  • Violations of State Personnel Rules  
  • State Personnel System Grievances  
  • Sexual Harassment on the job. 
  • EEO violations 
  • Wrongful Termination & Retaliatory actions against Leadership for lawfully promoting labor rights or organizing 

Bruno, Colin, Jewell & Lowe, P.C.


  • Legislative Drafting at State, County, and Municipal levels 
  • Wrongful termination or harassment for lawfully promoting labor standards in the workplace or organizing 

Collective Bargaining Legislation


The political atmosphere across the country changed dramatically with the results of this November’s election.  It is obvious that any labor initiated legislation stands very little chance of passage in the new session of Congress that will be seated in January.  The “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act” is still pending.  In light of the attitude and political make-up of the incoming Congress, it is painfully obvious that the only window of opportunity for its passage exits with the currently seated “Lame Duck” congress. 


It is our hope that the current House and Senate leadership will move this bill forward before the end of this session.  However there are no guarantees and we are uncertain how far down a list of priorities our bill sits.  We are optimistic that if the bill is introduced during the remaining session that it will pass and the President will sign it.  If this does not happen we expect it will be a minimum of two years before we have a seated Congress that could support this bill.  As long as the Tea Party electees and the Tea Party supported electees hold the majority, any national legislation to improve rights and benefits for law enforcement will be a major task to achieve at best.


Due Process Legislation - 2011’s Colorado Legislative Session


During the State Conference I reviewed our legislative efforts on SB-084 “Peace Officers Bill of Rights” and why the bill ended up being pulled at the end of session.  We will be introducing this legislation in the 2011 Colorado Session.  We are currently re-writing portions of the bill to improve passage.  We have met with the Sheriff’s and Chiefs organizations on this bill.  There will be further meetings in an attempt to gain their support.  The initial meeting was surprisingly positive, and gives us reason for optimism.


The results of the recent election have made the task of lobbying and passing this bill much more difficult.  We had solid Democratic support in the assembly this year, but the Republicans now hold the majority in the House and have picked up one seat in the Senate.  We are not without Republican friends on this bill.  Our “Political Action” efforts during this election have helped us tremendously in recognition and communications with members of the State Assembly.  We are moving towards several pre-session meetings to gain Republican co-sponsorship in both the House and Senate.  If we can gain bipartisan support we believe the bill has a good chance of passage.  If the Sheriff’s are on board it adds to that by eliminating one lobbying effort against the bill.  We are optimistic that if we can move the bill to the Governor with bipartisan support he will sign it.  Like everything else only time will tell, and if we fail to gain Republican support this bill will die.




Below is a brief summary of high priority matters currently being handled by the Labor Council.  There are many other smaller issues that have been dealt with from several lodges that are resolved or in process. 


Ø     AFSCME AND FOP Joint Efforts


The Labor Council has established a productive network within the Labor Union community in Colorado.  We have and continue to work with statewide labor on a variety of common issues.  That networking has resulted in a very good working relationship between the FOP and AFSCME.  AFSCME has joined with us in our battle with Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor and the need to see him defeated in this year’s election. 


AFSCME and the FOP worked together in securing legislation in Thornton which gives Thornton’s public employees bargaining rights by Meet and Confer effective 2011.  This effort was started by AFSCME who in turned invited the FOP to join with them.  AFSCME built support within Thornton’s City Council where a resolution was adopted in June by a 6 to 3 vote.  There will be changes to this resolution after the first of the year that will strengthen the act. 


AFSCME and the FOP also joined together to expand collective bargaining to all of Commerce City’s public employees.  Commerce City Police Officers have bargaining rights.  The rest of the workforce does not.  The FOP addressed the City Council along with AFSCME urging them to adopt a collective bargaining process for the city employees.  An ordinance was passed which will go into effect in January and the public employees hope to negotiate their first contract in 2011.  AFSCME and the FOP are planning on similar efforts in both Brighton and Northglenn. 


AFSCME and the FOP are also holding a series of “Strategy Planning” meeting with FOP Lodge 27 in an effort to organize civilian employees in Denver and map out political strategies for the upcoming Mayor and Council races in May 2011. 


Ø     Pueblo Lodge 7 President’s Wrongful Termination Lawsuit


Depositions in the Tommie McLallen lawsuit will begin between now and the end of the year.  The wrongful termination lawsuit involving FOP Lodge 7 President Tommie McLallen was filed several weeks ago and is being handled by the Elkus & Sisson law firm.  As most of you are aware Lodge 7 President Tommie McLallen was fired last July by Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor in the most blatant act of retaliation we have seen in years.  McLallen is the duly elected President of the Lodge which has been involved in a 20 month struggle to gain collective bargaining for the Deputies of Pueblo County.  The Sheriff’s office fabricated charges based on false testimony and manufactured events in order to fire the President and in so doing hoped to silence the voice of the workforce and destroy their chosen representative organization.  We are confident that Tommie will prevail in this lawsuit.


Ø     CSP Troopers Lodge 55, Lake County FOP, and Park County FOP


The Labor Council has assisted the State Troopers’ Lodge on various issues involving transfers, pay, discipline, and grievances.  Elkus & Sisson will be filing a grievance under the State system on failure to follow pay guidelines.  We also have completed our work on back pay and wage issues violations in Lake County establishing the foundation for legal action against the county.  This is a complicated and blatant case of wage denial to all deputies of Lake County.   As a result a federal lawsuit has been filed by the Elkus & Sisson law firm to recover back pay and damages. 


We have recently opened an investigation into potential FLSA violations in Park County.  We also are processing what appears to be a blatant EEO complaint.  Labor Council attorney Sean McCauley has been assigned both cases for potential legal action.  The county has backed away from its policy that led to the FLSA inquiry and is working with the lodge leadership to rectify the policy of on-call.  A decision on what legal avenues, if any, will be pursued both of these matters will depend on how the county ultimately handles the matter and what the Labor Council and local board


Ø     Trinidad – Las Animas County


Our brothers & sisters continue to suffer staffing cutbacks, furloughs, and reduction in benefits at the hands of the County Commissioners.  These employees are amongst the lowest paid law enforcement officers in the state.  That pay will be even lower with furloughs, reduction in authorized overtime, increased health insurance premiums and deductibles (1/3 of a deputy’s pay goes to health insurance).


In addition to the personnel benefits and staffing cuts; the Sheriff’s budget has been slashed.  It has truly reached a level where the delivery of public safety services will be cut or compromised.  Officer safety will be affected, and the public will suffer. The Sheriff has asked the State FOP, through its Labor Council, to unite with him in putting pressure on the BOC to re-think its actions.  We will be meting with the Sheriff and staff to strategize a plan to accomplish this. 


These are just a few highlights of work done recently by the Labor Council.  Almost daily we field questions and work on problems that come from member lodges across the state involving various workplace problems.

Colorado State Lodge F.O.P.
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