Thomson Federal Prison is in a staffing crisis with 110 vacancies. As a result, correctional officers are working overtime, exhausted and have low morale. The combination could affect the safety of prisoners, said Jonathan Zumkehr, President of AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees) Local 4070, Council of Prison Locals No. 33, AFL-CIO.
FILE: After pressure from Illinois Democratic Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, the Federal Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) approved a 25% retention pay increase for all officers and staff at USP Thomson in an effort to keep the prison from losing employees.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., met with Jonathan Zumkehr, president of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 4070, Sept. 17, 2021, after it was announced employees at Thomson Federal Prison would receive 25% retention pay to help address the staffing shortage at the maximum security prison.
Thomson Federal Prison correctional officers and staff will receive an increase in their locality pay following a recommendation from the President’s Pay Agent, which consists of the secretary of labor, the directors of the Office of Management and Budget and Office of Personnel Management.
The American Federation of Government Employees Local 4070 has been lobbying for the locality pay change for several years as part of a larger effort to address critical staffing shortages at the high-security federal prison which currently houses 987 inmates; 865 at the main prison and 122 at the satellite camp.
“We are beyond pleased that our hard-working employees will be moved into the higher paying locality,” said AFGE Local 4070 President John Zumkehr in a press release. “This change, in addition to the 25% retention pay we already secured, will go a long way toward helping us retain our experienced staff and recruit the additional staff we desperately need.”
USP Thomson is located in Carroll County, Ill., which has seen large enough increases in federal employment during the past year to qualify the prison for moving up in pay locality rank to include six counties surrounding Davenport and Moline.
Following pressure from Illinois Democratic Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, the Federal Office of Personnel and Management approved a 25% retention pay increase in September for all officers and staff at USP Thomson in an effort to keep the prison from losing employees.
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December 20, 2021 at 12:44PM