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Corrections officers demand improvements amid staffing, safety concerns in Connecticut facilities

Photo: Aaron Gallant/ AFSCME
Corrections officers demand improvements amid staffing, safety concerns in Connecticut facilities
By Aaron Gallant ·

HARTFORD, Conn. – Corrections officers who are members of AFSCME Council 4 showed up in force at the Connecticut capital to demand changes that will improve safety and staffing levels in the state’s corrections facilities.

Carrying signs that read “Respect Those Who Protect,” Council 4 members and retirees took part in a rally on April 10 and held a press conference at the State Capitol building to ask their elected representatives to do just that.

“Staff assaults were up 56% in 2023 while the inmate population has been reduced,” said Officer Mike Vargo, president of AFSCME Local 1565. “We are being asked to do more without the proper resources and adequate preparation needed to minimize the rate and severity of assaults.”

Respect for these AFSCME corrections officers means passing a 2.5% wage and step increase to retain qualified professionals, creating more staff posts in facilities and restoring sanctions for inmates who assault COs and their fellow inmates.

“Stress, anxiety and trauma are taking a severe toll on our well-being,” said Officer Sherine Bailey, executive board member of AFSCME Local 391. “With the rigorous demands and risks we face, the base-level pay fails to reflect the gravity of our work.”

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee plans to vote on the wage and step increase in the next few days.

Last week’s rally and press conference received widespread local media attention — and it’s clear that these AFSCME members will keep fighting alongside one another until safety and staffing issues are resolved.

Public safety professionals are increasingly turning to AFSCME to build power at work, and to advocate for safety on the job, better wages, good health care and a secure retirement. AFSCME members in corrections, law enforcement and emergency response defend our freedoms and those of the communities we serve.

Visit the AFSCME Public Safety website to get involved and learn more.

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