Federal employees picket outside Federal Correctional Complex due to staffing shortages

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FLORENCE, Colo— Federal employees at the nation’s most secure prison are demanding action, saying they are overworked and understaffed.

On Thursday, several employees and members of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1169 were seen picketing outside the Federal Correctional Complex Florence.

“We are the most understaffed prison in the country, we are around 130 correctional officers short,” said John Butkovch, President of Local 1169.

Employees said to make up for the lack of correctional officers, non-officer employees like medical staff and counselors are being assigned to work as officers.

Butkovch said Local1169 even spent some of their own money to advertise jobs.

“Our membership spent $50,000 of the member’s money to advertise for staff to come here, and we’d like to see that from the government,” said Butkovch.

Employees said other potential setbacks could be related to the federal vaccine mandate, federal employees have until November 22 to be fully vaccinated. They are now asking the federal government to step up and offer employees a 25% retention pay increase.

“It’s a great career and place to work if we are fully staff,” said Christopher Tyndell, correctional officer.

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