Being a medical professional in the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has never been an easy job. But thanks to years of hard work by AFGE Council of Prison Locals (CPL) representatives, some BOP medical staff are now on their way to getting well-deserved bumps in pay.
This past week, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Department of Justice approved a hybrid pay system for the Bureau's psychiatrists. Under the new hybrid pay system, psychiatrists will continue to be paid according to the General Schedule scale, but will also be eligible for Title 38 market-based pay adjustments. These adjustments will allow for higher salaries to retain and recruit quality medical professionals the Bureau so desperately needs.
In another big victory for CPL, OPM approved an accelerated promotion program for BOP nurses and nurse practitioners, designed to provide them with the training they need to move up the GS pay ladder more quickly than before. This means better-skilled mid-level practitioners in our prisons and higher paychecks for these chronically underpaid positions.
"We are absolutely thrilled that our years of hard work have paid off, and that these caregivers are now on a path to fair and equal pay," said AFGE CPL President Eric Young. "Former and current council officers truly worked hard together to make this happen. We will continue working to provide opportunities for upward mobility for our other correctional workers."
Over the last few decades, the BOP has had trouble bringing new medical professionals on board and retaining that staff, losing many of these mid-level practitioners and psychiatrists to private sector jobs who offer higher pay. This venture will allow the Bureau to attract fresh talent and train the workforce of the future.
"The Council's goal all along was to get our medical professionals paid a decent salary more comparable to the private sector," Young said. "This was a hard fought victory and I want to personally thank all our Council Officers involved in this for working with agency officials to ensure this new pay privilege boost. With this in place, we hope to hire and keep well-qualified medical professionals in our business to care for inmates and keep our communities safe."