FLORENCE, Colo. – American Federation of Government Employees Local 1169 today thanked U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper for echoing the union’s call to address persistent understaffing and dangerous working conditions at Federal Correctional Complex Florence, south of Colorado Springs, Colo.
The two Colorado senators sent a letter to Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters and Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja requesting a 25% retention bonus for all FCC Florence staff – both correctional officers and non-custody staff – to prevent staff attrition and help promote the recruitment and hiring of new staff.
“Having the support of our state’s two U.S. senators means so much to the correctional officers and staff who are in desperate need of help,” AFGE Local 1169 President John Butkovich said. “FCC Florence employees are understaffed, overworked, and facing dangerous working conditions that must be addressed.”
FCC Florence comprises four facilities: the minimum-security Federal Prison Camp, the medium-security Federal Correctional Institution, the high-security United States Penitentiary, and the supermax Administrative Maximum Facility.
The prison is currently short at least 188 correctional staff, which has placed employees and the inmate population in an unsustainable environment and created a reliance on mandatory overtime. There have been two inmate homicides and six serious assaults in just the past year.
To address these urgent staffing issues, OPM in July increased the retention bonus for correctional officers from 10% to 25%. In March, OPM approved a 10% retention bonus for non-custody staff, including teachers, case managers, counselors, and maintenance workers.
As stated in their letter, Bennet and Hickenlooper support AFGE Local 1169’s request to allow all FCC Florence’s staff to receive the 25% retention bonus.
“We look forward to working with you to address the unsustainable staffing shortage at FCC Florence, and we would appreciate your response by December 20, 2022,” the senators wrote.