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AFSCME Rhode Island welcomes 35 corrections employees

Photo credit: Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility Facebook page
AFSCME Rhode Island welcomes 35 corrections employees
By AFSCME Council 94/AFSCME International Staff ·

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Thirty-five corrections workers at the maximum-security Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility are now part of the AFSCME family.

Rhode Island Council 94/AFSCME said in a press release this month that the workers – maintenance workers, counselors, IT technicians and the like – voted in a secret ballot election to join the council. The election was ordered and supervised by the Rhode Island State Labor Relations Board, and the results were announced on March 1.

“Council 94 is excited to welcome 35 Wyatt Detention Facility employees as our newest members. These new members will join the medical staff already represented by Council 94,” said J. Michael Downey, council president.

“What we want is a voice and representation that will back us and to level the playing field for all of us who provide the basic services that keep this facility running," said Raymond Lafreniere, one of the 35 workers who organized.

John Burns, an organizer and senior staff representative at the council, said the workers have “now joined a strong, democratic union that will help make their voice heard in the workplace.” The 35 staff saw the difference that the union made to the medical staff and decided to also affiliate with Council 94.

Council 94 represents over 4,000 state employees, 4,000 municipal employees, 300 private sector employees and 2,500 retirees.

The Wyatt Detention Facility, located in Central Falls, houses up to 730 adult males and up to 40 adult female detainees.

About 85,000 corrections employees around the country are building power through AFSCME as they fight for better pay and benefits, safer workplaces and to uphold the standard of professionalism. That includes 62,000 corrections officers (COs) and 23,000 non-CO staff working in maximum- and minimum-security facilities, state prisons and county jails. For more information, go here.

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