The Colorado FOP Labor Council has been operational since 2008. During that time we have grown to 25 lodges with over 3,000 members. Labor Council membership is mandatory for any lodge chartered after July 2008. As pre-2008 lodges continue to join and as member expansion steadily is adding new lodges to the State FOP, we anticipate steady growth to continue throughout 2015 and beyond. Our goal is ensure all FOP members have access to legal assistance in workplace issues and employment law.
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 Colorado State Lodge is first and foremost dedicated to improve working conditions for all officers in Colorado. The Colorado Labor Council was created to assist all lodges in Colorado whether they currently have collective bargaining rights or not. We stand ready to assist member lodges on all labor matters regardless of the size of your department or your geographical location in the State.
The principles behind any unified group working for a common cause is the immediate benefit that comes from the total resources and expertise of being part of that group. Whether a lodge benefits immediately by having its current labor issues addressed or not is not the primary reason for joining. The fact is all who join will eventually profit from their membership.
This is something which each lodge that is not currently a council member will have to examine and address eventually as public safety budgets are stripped and benefits reduced or frozen,. The price you pay now is nowhere near the price you may have to pay in the future if you do not belong; or if you come on board at the last minute.
Much like a life insurance policy; eventually all who belong will collect. Eventually your lodge will need the financial assistance and expertise the Labor Council can provide. It is inevitable. Join the Labor Council now and help the entire state FOP and your lodge, prepare and be ready to meet today’s labor demands and needs and those of the future.
All Labor Council member lodges eventually use Labor Council services; some more than others, but over time, and depending on ever changing management practices in various counties & cities, it balances out. Labor Council member lodges that have the right to bargain use the Labor Council as a primary service providing collective bargaining, contract development and negotiations, grievance processing, arbitration, and local political action assistance. Although that is a major service for our Lodges that bargain 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.
However, the majority of member lodges of the Labor Council currently do not collectively bargain. Those lodges tend to have more labor issues and make up a larger 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, in Labor Council member lodges that do not have bargaining or negotiated contracts 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 or resources to answer member complaints involving FLSA, EEO, or Workmen’s’ Comp rules and provisions. The leadership of those lodges relies on their membership in the Labor Council to address those concerns and possible violations, and 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. We will assist and give expertise to member lodges in petition drives and local elections to obtain bargaining rights.
The Labor Council uses three law firms that have established expertise in all services we provide. I have listed those law firms below along with the expertise they bring:
Any Colorado FOP lodge chartered after July 2008 is automatically in the Labor Council and its members are covered as part of their dues structure. Pre-2008 lodges mus opt-in. The Labor Council currently represents 25 lodges over 3,000 law enforcement officers across the state. That is over half of the Colorado FOP membership and we are growing. A few member lodges have collective bargaining rights, and we handle all labor issues associated with contract development, negotiation, and enforcement. However, collective bargaining and having a recognized voice in local jurisdictions is not the primary reason to belong. The majority of member lodges in the Labor Council do not enjoy the benefit of collective bargaining and they are the bulk of our work.
There are serious labor issues that happen frequently in the workplace, and local Lodge leadership normally does not possess the legal knowledge or resources to determine a violation and course of action. Among the most frequent abuses seen involving working conditions involve violations of FLSA standards on overtime and compensatory time reimbursements. This is followed closely by sexual harassment and other employer prohibited practices. Cities and counties also have local workplace policies and procedures in place that they on occasion violate without challenge.
Time and research over what can or cannot be done on such issues is rarely expended by the local lodge due to lack of money, resources, or knowledge. Much of that work is based in current workplace law which is complex in nature and an employee needs proper legal advice and assistance to handle the issue. That applies to lodges also if the violation extends to the entire workplace. By pooling member dues in the same manner that we do in the FOP Legal Defense Plan, the Labor Council is able to financially handle the legal costs and time involved.
Very few Lodges or Lodge members have the experience or time to deal with or manage these kinds of services. Membership in the Labor Council brings that to your Lodge. However it is incumbent on local lodge leadership to make their members aware that if they have a workplace matter that involves working conditions or terms and conditions of employment other than duty related discipline covered by LDF; their membership in the Labor Council brings the kind of expertise and services they expect as members of the FOP. Bottom line is that if it is workplace matters not covered by LDF then call us. The benefits of Labor Council membership are well worth the dues paid.For more information contact Labor Services at 303-591-3842.
Colorado FOP Labor Council
8400 Alcott Street
Denver, CO 80217