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Pueblo union reps call on Sheriff David Lucero to negotiate with new PCSO union

Every week after sending a letter to Pueblo County Sheriff David Lucero, native union representatives demonstrated exterior the sheriff’s workplace Wednesday of their newest push to get him to negotiate a contract with the PCSO’s new union.

Around 30 union representatives and supporters circled the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office for round two hours to protest Lucero’s reluctance to negotiate a contract with his employees. Hundreds of PCSO workers fashioned a union in December and selected the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, a police labor union, as their consultant.

In latest months, the IBPO has reached out to Lucero to start negotiations, however the sheriff has stated {that a} new law permitting workers in some Colorado counties to unionize conflicts with his authority as sheriff underneath Colorado regulation.

In March, the IBPO filed an unfair labor apply declare towards the PCSO, alleging that Lucero violated the new regulation that permits county workers to collectively discount. That grievance is “currently under investigation” by the state’s Division of Labor Standards and Statistics, a spokesperson for the division advised the Chieftain.

“It’s a travesty considering what Pueblo is in Colorado — we’re the union community and have been for at least 25 years,” Charles Perko, president of United Steelworkers Local 3627, stated of how the connection between the IBPO and Lucero has unfolded so far. “We’ve led the state in this sort of activity and to have a sheriff who seems to do what the hell he wants because he reads the bill and believes it doesn’t apply to him — we shouldn’t have to do this.”

Charles Perko speaks through a megaphone during a demonstration outside the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.Charles Perko speaks through a megaphone during a demonstration outside the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

Charles Perko speaks by way of a megaphone throughout an indication exterior the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

Perko was joined Wednesday by a number of different native union reps, together with Hilary Glasgow, Jerry Ballard, Andre Cunningham, Josette Jaramillo, and Konner Pemberton, every of whom are presidents or chairs of their respective unions.

The group, alongside different union supporters, spent a few of Wednesday’s demonstration chanting, “Get up, get down, Pueblo is a union townn,” earlier than holding up indicators and waving to passersby at Sante Fe Avenue. May 1 is traditionally celebrated as May Day, an annual show of activism amongst union members and employees.

“It’s important for people to know, especially elected officials, if they want to go against their own people, there is accountability,” Glasgow stated. “Especially when there’s a law passed that took a ton of work.

“Us showing up, what we want (Lucero) to know is that we represent hundreds, if not thousands, of people in this community.”

Hilary Glasgow and Vince Champion, regional president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, hold signs during a demonstration outside the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, May 4, 2024.Hilary Glasgow and Vince Champion, regional president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, hold signs during a demonstration outside the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, May 4, 2024.

Hilary Glasgow and Vince Champion, regional president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, maintain indicators throughout an indication exterior the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, May 4, 2024.

There have been no deputy sheriffs or different PCSO union members current at Wednesday’s demonstration. Some of them knowledgeable the Southern Colorado Labor Council that they wouldn’t present up as a result of they feared Lucero would retaliate towards them, Glasgow claimed.

Vince Champion, regional director of the IBPO, flew into Pueblo from Atlanta late Tuesday evening to be part of Wednesday’s demonstration. As of May 1, the IBPO’s PCSO union had 217 members, a rise from round 200 when the union first fashioned in December following an authorized election.

“It’s amazing,” Champion stated of Wednesday’s turnout. “These are people that believe in unions (and) the right to collectively bargain and they’re willing to even stand up side by side with us to make sure everybody has that right.”

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Lucero’s workplace issued a information launch about half-hour earlier than Wednesday’s demonstration started. Lucero, within the launch, reiterated what he shared with the Chieftain on Monday, saying that he helps unions however feels the new regulation conflicts with the authority granted to sheriffs by state statutes.

Lucero additionally said that he felt it could be “disingenuous to begin negotiating without a clear legal decision on what can and cannot be brought to the bargaining table.” It’s some extent that some native union reps have disputed, stating that sponsors of the invoice would have correctly vetted its legality earlier than introducing it.

“When that legal guidance is provided, I’d be happy to bargain if that’s what the law says,” Lucero stated within the launch. “If it doesn’t, then I will continue to do what I have been doing all along and that’s to continue to advocate for my people.”

Jenny Hohman, a union representative from the AFSCME 1335 chapter, holds up a sign protesting Pueblo County Sheriff Lucero's request to delay negotiations during a demonstration outside the PCSO office on Wednesday, May 2, 2024.Jenny Hohman, a union representative from the AFSCME 1335 chapter, holds up a sign protesting Pueblo County Sheriff Lucero's request to delay negotiations during a demonstration outside the PCSO office on Wednesday, May 2, 2024.

Jenny Hohman, a union consultant from the AFSCME 1335 chapter, holds up an indication protesting Pueblo County Sheriff Lucero’s request to delay negotiations throughout an indication exterior the PCSO workplace on Wednesday, May 2, 2024.

Lucero additionally appeared to counter Champion’s and Glasgow’s claims that he’s refusing to “uphold the law” by delaying negotiations.

“Of course, I am going to follow the law and enforce the laws, that’s what I was elected to do,” he stated.

It’s unclear when a ruling on the matter may be handed down by the labor requirements and statistics division, but it surely knowledgeable Lucero on Monday of the IBPO’s unfair labor apply grievance. The division imposed a May 13 deadline for Lucero to present written responses and paperwork that he believes will refute the union’s allegations.

The division’s discover to Lucero and Peter Blood, legal professional for Pueblo County, was shared with the Chieftain.

Certified elections to kind a union amongst deputy sheriffs and different workers have taken place in no less than six counties in Colorado, together with Pueblo, for the reason that invoice went into impact in July.  However, the regulation has additionally confronted important pushback from leaders in El Paso and Douglas counties because it was enacted.

Colorado lobbying data present that Pueblo, Douglas, El Paso, Grand, Mesa, Montrose and Weld counties opposed the invoice, as did a number of different statewide organizations representing county governments.

Chieftain reporter Josué Perez will be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on X, previously Twitter, at @josuepwrites. Support native information, subscribe to The Pueblo Chieftain at subscribe.chieftain.com.

This article initially appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: Why Pueblo union reps are demanding Sheriff Lucero negotiate with union

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