(TAMPA, Fla.) – The following is a statement from Teamsters International Vice President Ken Wood recalling a Presidential Proclamation on Correctional Officers issued on May 5, 1984:
“Twenty-nine years ago, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation establishing National Correctional Officers’ Week (the first full week in May). In doing so, the President recognized that ‘correctional officers have the difficult and often dangerous assignments of ensuring the custody, safety and well-being’ of thousands of inmates in our prisons and jails.
“Reagan also noted that ‘the professionalism, dedication and courage exhibited by these officers . . . deserve our utmost respect.’ The President called upon officials of State and local governments to observe National Correctional Officers’ Week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
“One important way the Florida Legislature can observe National Correctional Officers’ Week this year is to enact “special pay issue raises” for employees of the Florida Department of Corrections. These employees work tirelessly for the third largest prison system in the United States.”
Wood urged elected officials in Tallahassee to take the following important facts into consideration– that support special pay for corrections—when deciding on the State’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year: 1.) an attrition rate of 18 percent within the Department of Corrections, which exceeds other state law enforcement agencies; 2.) only slight differences in pay between veteran and rookie correctional officers despite many years of service for more senior officers; 3.) the extreme danger of the job resulting in correctional officers “lost in the line of duty” similar to losses suffered by other state law enforcement officers; and, 4.) the need for state law enforcement pay equality, so Department of Corrections officers receive a “special pay issue” raise at least equal to what officers within other agencies such as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Highway Patrol will receive.
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico including more than 260,000 public service employees. For more information, go to www.teamster.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @Teamsters.