In November 2012, Director Brandenburg unilaterally instituted a new policy limiting Officers to 84 consecutive hours of leave. He did this without talking to ACOA, as required by the Contract. ACOA contested this policy in arbitration. Now, finally, this issue has been put to rest when on Friday, July 18, ACOA received a decision from Arbitrator Kathy Fragnoli. She stated:
“The Department violated the parties’ Collective Bargaining Agreement when it unilaterally implemented an 84-hour leave restriction for all Correctional Officers. Without first bargaining with the Union, the State shall cease and desist application of the 84-hour restriction.”
This means, if you were denied leave during the last open period, and there are leave slots still open, you can request additional time beyond the original 84-hours and from here on out you will be able to request consecutive weeks of leave during the open periods. (Obviously, you may not receive the consecutive weeks for various reasons such as seniority and the overtime, but now there is no blanket policy forbidding it)
We want to thank all the Officers that stepped up to help fight this issue on behalf of the Memberhsip. Without these Officers putting themselves on front street, we could not have won this arbitration. We need to thank Institutional Managers as well. After Officers testified to the harm caused by the 84-hour leave restriction, Institutional Managers were called as rebuttal witnesses by the State to rebut/dispute the Officers’ testimony…, which they refused to do. Instead, they were honest and backed up the Officers’ testimony.
On a side note, Director Brandenburg had some interesting statements about Correctional Officers at the Arbitration. Here is one example the Arbitrator referenced in her decision:
“Director Brandenburg’s testimony at the hearing evidenced what may have been the driving reason for his announcement of the 84-hour rule. He asserted, ‘These guys make a hundred grand a year and only work six months.’”
In the Decision, the Arbitrator herself pointed out that Officers work just as many hours as any other State employee and that the week off can help Officers decompress when they are putting their lives on the line every day to protect the public, inmates, and each other.
Please consider reading the entire decision linked below.