Labor Union

Colorado Families for a Fair Wage

Location:

Denver, CO

Tax ID:

81-1642810

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Type:

Labor Coalition

Founded:

2016

Colorado Families for a Fair Wage was a labor coalition created in 2016 by members of the Everyone Economy, an informal group of left-of-center economic organizations that strategized raising the minimum wage in February 2014. [1]

The organization proposed Amendment 70 in 2016. Amendment 70 was a proposed change to the state constitution to raise the minimum wage from $8.31 per hour until 2020 through annual 90-cent increments, when the minimum wage would be set at $12 per hour indexed to inflation. [2]

The organization was funded by left-of-center organizations including the Fairness Project, Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund, and the New Venture Fund. [3] [4]

According to a spokesperson for the Colorado secretary of state in 2016, at least three pages on a petition supporting Amendment 70 were fraudulent, and 3,742 of the names and addresses in a five percent sample of the total signatures were “invalid” and did not match the details of anyone on Colorado’s voter roll. [5]

Background

Colorado Families for a Fair Wage (CFFW) was a left-of-center coalition of labor unions, left-of-center organizations, and left-leaning policy analysts, most of which were part of Everyone Economy, an informal group of left-of-center economic organizations that strategized raising the minimum wage in February 2014. [6]

Everyone Economy worked with Democratic Party legislators to propose two bills in 2015: one to allow municipalities to set their own minimum wage and another to create a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage to $12.50 in Colorado. Neither bill passed the Senate. [7]

The Democratic Party put forward another bill in 2016 that would have allowed cities to set their own minimum wage. This bill was also stopped at the Senate. Due to multiple failures in the Senate, Everyone Economy formed the Colorado Families for a Fair Wage to pursue ballot measures independently. [8]

Amendment 70

Colorado Families for a Fair Wage proposed Amendment 70 in 2016. The amendment itself was a change to the state constitution to raise the minimum wage from $8.31 per hour by annual 90-cent increments until 2020 when the minimum wage would be set at $12 per hour with yearly adjustments for inflation. [9]

Funding

CFFW admitted that as of August 16, 2016, the organization had raised more than $1 million, including nearly $185,000 from the Fairness Project, which finances and supports state ballot initiative campaigns in order to promote left-of-center policies, and $350,000 from the Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund, an advocate for increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court, known as “court-packing,” and ending the filibuster in the Senate. The Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund is the sister organization of the Center for Popular Democracy. Both organizations are tied to national labor unions in which membership dues rise with wages. [10] [11] [12]

Keep Colorado Working, a coalition of Colorado businesses that opposed Amendment 70, raised approximately $100,000, most of which came from restaurants, as of August 16, 2016. [13]

Colorado Families for a Fair Wage received a total of $5,399,404 in 2016, the only year the organization was in operation, with 100 percent of that amount received via contributions, gifts, and grants. The organization had a total of $5,399,404 in functional expenses, spending 100 percent of its revenue, just under $4 million of which was spent on advertising and promotion. [14]

Of its total revenue for 2016, CFFW received $875,000 from The Fairness Project and just over $1 million from the Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund in 2016. [15] [16]

CFFW also received a total of $120,781.32 from the New Venture Fund in 2016. The New Venture Fund is a funding and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit that makes grants to left-of-center advocacy and organizing projects and provides incubation services for other left-of-center organizations. The fund focuses primarily on social and environmental change, issuing grants for a variety of projects, and is the largest nonprofit in the network of five nonprofits created and managed by Arabella Advisors. [17] [18]

Alleged Fraud

According to a spokesperson for the Colorado secretary of state in 2016, at least three pages on a petition supporting Amendment 70 were fraudulent. [19]

Advocates of Amendment 70 submitted petitions with more than 189,000 names and addresses in July 2016. According to the secretary of state’s office, a computer-generated sample of 5 percent of the names signed on the petition was created. In that sample 3,742 of the names and addresses, approximately 40 percent of the sample, were “invalid,” as the details of those signatures did not match anyone listed on state voter rolls. [20]

In another statement, the secretary of state’s office said it “does not conduct signature verification when reviewing petitions so our office has referred the questionable section to the state attorney general’s office.” [21]

Campaign

Amendment 70 passed and, effective as of January 1, 2017, Colorado’s minimum wage increased from $8.31 to $9.30 an hour, an initial increase of 11.9 percent. The total increase of the minimum wage in Colorado from 2016 to 2020 was 44.4 percent. [22]

References

  1. “Homestretch: The fight to raise Colorado’s minimum wage.” The Center for Popular Democracy. November 6, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.populardemocracy.org/news-and-publications/homestretch-fight-raise-colorado-s-minimum-wage. ^
  2. “Homestretch: The fight to raise Colorado’s minimum wage.” The Center for Popular Democracy. November 6, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.populardemocracy.org/news-and-publications/homestretch-fight-raise-colorado-s-minimum-wage. ^
  3. “Out-Of-State Money Pours In To Raise Colorado’s Minimum Wage.” CBS Colorado. August 17, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.cbsnews.com/colorado/news/minimum-wage-colorado-november-ballot/. ^
  4. “Tracer.” Contribution Search. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://tracer.sos.colorado.gov/PublicSite/SearchPages/ContributionSearch.aspx. ^
  5. Higgins, Sean. “Fraud Found in Colorado Minimum Wage Petition Drive.” Washington Examiner. August 17, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/fraud-found-in-colorado-minimum-wage-petition-drive. ^
  6. “Homestretch: The fight to raise Colorado’s minimum wage.” The Center for Popular Democracy. November 6, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.populardemocracy.org/news-and-publications/homestretch-fight-raise-colorado-s-minimum-wage. ^
  7. “Homestretch: The fight to raise Colorado’s minimum wage.” The Center for Popular Democracy. November 6, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.populardemocracy.org/news-and-publications/homestretch-fight-raise-colorado-s-minimum-wage. ^
  8. “Homestretch: The fight to raise Colorado’s minimum wage.” The Center for Popular Democracy. November 6, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.populardemocracy.org/news-and-publications/homestretch-fight-raise-colorado-s-minimum-wage. ^
  9. “Homestretch: The fight to raise Colorado’s minimum wage.” The Center for Popular Democracy. November 6, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.populardemocracy.org/news-and-publications/homestretch-fight-raise-colorado-s-minimum-wage. ^
  10. “Out-Of-State Money Pours In To Raise Colorado’s Minimum Wage.” CBS Colorado. August 17, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.cbsnews.com/colorado/news/minimum-wage-colorado-november-ballot/. ^
  11. “CPD Action.” Twitter. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://twitter.com/CPDAction. ^
  12. “Center For Popular Democracy Action On Leaked Roe Opinion: We Must Act Now And Pass The Judiciary Act, End The Filibuster.” CPD Action. May 3, 2022. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://cpdaction.org/center-popular-democracy-action-leaked-roe-opinion-we-must-act-now-and-pass-judiciary-act-end-1. ^
  13. “Out-Of-State Money Pours In To Raise Colorado’s Minimum Wage.” CBS Colorado. August 17, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.cbsnews.com/colorado/news/minimum-wage-colorado-november-ballot/. ^
  14. Suozzo, Andrea. “Colorado Families For A Fair Wage, Full Filing – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. May 9, 2013. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/811642810/201741149349300149/full. ^
  15. Suozzo, Andrea. “The Fairness Project, Full Filing – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. May 9, 2013. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/371779557/201702989349300400/full. ^
  16. Suozzo, Andrea. “Center For Popular Democracy Action Fund, Full Filing – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. May 9, 2013. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/453860271/201723179349308122/full. ^
  17. “Tracer.” Contribution Search . Accessed January 9, 2023. https://tracer.sos.colorado.gov/PublicSite/SearchPages/ContributionSearch.aspx. ^
  18. Rojc, Philip. “Big Builds: A Look Inside Arabella Advisors.” Inside Philanthropy. January 14, 2020. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2019/1/14/big-builds-a-look-inside-arabella-advisors. ^
  19. Higgins, Sean. “Fraud Found in Colorado Minimum Wage Petition Drive.” Washington Examiner. August 17, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/fraud-found-in-colorado-minimum-wage-petition-drive. ^
  20. Higgins, Sean. “Fraud Found in Colorado Minimum Wage Petition Drive.” Washington Examiner. August 17, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/fraud-found-in-colorado-minimum-wage-petition-drive. ^
  21. Higgins, Sean. “Fraud Found in Colorado Minimum Wage Petition Drive.” Washington Examiner. August 17, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/fraud-found-in-colorado-minimum-wage-petition-drive. ^
  22. Svaldi, Aldo. “Raises coming Sunday for low-wage workers in Colorado.” December 30, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.denverpost.com/2016/12/29/raises-low-wage-workers-colorado/. ^
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Colorado Families for a Fair Wage


Denver, CO