On Tuesday, May 21, 2013, Governor Parnell signed the FY 14 Operating Budget into law. Included in the budget is funding for our 2012-2015 Contract. Because the budget was signed, Correctional Officers will receive wage increases totaling 6% over the life of the Contract: a 2% wage increase effective April 25, another 2% wage increase effective on July 1, and a 2% increase effective July 1, 2014.

We can now put to rest the concerns many Officers had that the Contract’s negative aspects would be implemented retroactively and that many of its positive aspects would not be implemented retroactively. All Officers will be reimbursed for the $80 a month that was withheld from their pay since July 1st 2012 to cover the increased cost of Health Benefits that the State refused to pay. This $800 should show up in your June 6th pay warrants. The Geographic Differential and the Personal Leave Officers have accumulated since last July is yours to keep and will not be retroactively taken back. Not having the leave retroactively reduced is a relief, particularly for Officers who had to use a lot of leave because of personal or family sicknesses or emergencies or who have rolled leave over into their Deferred Comp accounts. Some Officers would have ended up with negative or zero leave balances and could have owed significant sums of money back to the State. Not having Geographic Differential retroactively reduced or eliminated is good news to most Officers though not all. Along with owing the State Personal Leave many Officers could have owed thousands more in Geographic Differential as well.

Not to be repetitive, but we have to say thanks again. Over the years, this membership has been unbelievable when it comes to allowing us to negotiate/arbitrate without having to talk about sensitive issues publicly. The trust and patience Correctional Officers have shown over the years, including these last six months, has allowed us to achieve many goals including this very important goal with the funding of the Contract and negotiated LOA. In this case, literally millions of dollars for Officers Statewide was at stake.

Here is a recap of what has and is taking place. The State started paying the increased $80 per month Health Benefits cost in Pay Period 10 (April 11-April 24th) and this should have been reflected in your first pay warrant in May. The 2% wage increase was effective in Pay Period 11 (April 25-May 8th) and at that same time the new leave accrual rates and Geographic Differentials took effect; all of which should have showed up in your May 23rd pay warrant. You should be made whole for the $80 a month the State took from your pay each month to cover your Health Benefit fees ($800) in your June 6th pay warrant. Additionally, you will get a second 2% wage increase on July 1, 2013, and another 2% wage increase on July 1, 2014.

Unfortunately, even though we have had some really good news lately, it is offset by the continuing attacks against ACOA’s President Randy McLellan, including this last one, which, as with attacks in the past, included his shift members. Randy has been an important and courageous voice and force in the fight to obtain the last few Contracts and the fight against the 8 hour security shifts. He has gone all out for the membership and has constantly been under attack from Management for doing so. The hell he and his fellow Officers (and their families) are being subjected to is just so unfair and will not go unanswered.