DENVER—U.S. Representative Brittany Pettersen (D-CO) today announced that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has approved a request to allow the Department of Justice (DOJ) to authorize a group retention incentive bonus of 25 percent for prison staff, including correctional officers and non-custody workers, at Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) in Florence. The move comes following numerous letters from Pettersen to the Federal Bureau of Prisons calling for action to address issues with understaffing and unsustainable working conditions at FCC Florence.
Retention bonuses were previously capped at ten percent at FCC Florence for some staff and this increase will help the Complex avoid additional attrition and promote the recruitment and hiring of new staff.
“The employees at the Federal Correctional Complex in Florence have been overworked and faced severe understaffing issues for years. A prison that is fully-staffed is a safe one—otherwise, these conditions lead to forced overtime and dangerous conditions for the workers and the prisoners,” said Pettersen. “Because of the hard work of the AFGE 1169 union, I’m thrilled to announce that our requests for increased retention bonuses have gone through, but we have to keep working to improve conditions and morale at the nation’s only supermax facility.”
"Local 1169 has been working tirelessly on getting a 25% retention for all staff for 2 years. Congresswoman Pettersen has been instrumental in our success and has supported us from her first day in office. We are very grateful for her being a champion of both labor and law enforcement,” said AFGE 1169 Union President John Butkovich.
Pettersen has been partnering with key local leaders surrounding this issue, including AFGE 1169, the local union representing the prison workforce, who have been pushing for reforms for years. She has penned numerous letters on the issue, the first of which was sent on January 10th, just three days after she was sworn-in to Congress. Pettersen visited the facility earlier this year and heard directly from officers about the impact low pay, forced overtime, and dangerous conditions were having on morale, attrition rates, and recruitment and training at FCC Florence.