(TAMPA, Fla.) – Today, Teamsters Local 2011, which represents 17,000 officers of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC), filed a formal complaint against the state with the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC). The complaint alleges the state committed an unfair labor practice by trying to force illegal working conditions on corrections officers – taking away officers’ earned, paid time off.
Based on the contract, the state is allowed to require mandatory work on holidays for which officers earn special compensatory time. However, the state is requiring DMS/People First to take away officers’ earned time if they do not use it in a certain time period (for example, within 6 months). Worse is that officers are not being allowed to take time off due to critical staffing shortages at prisons.
The Teamsters attempted to rectify the illegal language during the most recent contract negotiations, but the state was unwilling to fix the language. Florida law requires the legislature to resolve any bargaining impasses (issues that the state and the Union cannot agree on). In this particular case, the legislature approved the state’s proposal for the contract to keep the existing contract language with the forced forfeiture provision. The state’s controversial language will be in this next contract unless PERC determines that the state acted improperly in requiring earned special compensatory time be eliminated from each officers’ bank of leave time, if it is not used during the time period set by the contract.
“We approached the negotiations with a sincere resolve to addressing what we believed to be an illegal forfeiture of earned hours,” said Teamsters International Vice President Ken Wood from Tampa, Fla. “It’s unfortunate that the state’s representatives showed an unwillingness to do the right thing. Our correctional officers should not be required to work and then have their earned time taken away from them. We will pursue all legal avenues to have the problem corrected and our dedicated officers made whole.”
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. “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @Teamsters.