Don’t politicize Chester County Prison jobs
To the Editor: I would like to take this opportunity to shed some light on the current situation at Chester County Prison. We are currently involved in a battle over bringing in the Teamsters union. This is the third attempt by some of the officers to introduce a union to the facility, both of the previous attempts failed due to lack of support. Despite these previous failures the Teamsters seem determined to pad their already significant payroll with our hard earned money. There are many of us who do not want a union. While the representation vote has yet to be scheduled, it seems inevitable.
The Teamsters effort has created unneeded tension and dissent among the ranks. And many of my fellow officers have wondered why they are so intent on getting in here? It is not because they care about us. They and more specifically Chris O’Donnell, the organizer, don’t know us or the job we do.
It is true that this job can be difficult as can all jobs. There is also the potential of danger in our job, we are all made aware of this and accept it when we take this job. Outside of that potential danger this job is similar to most jobs, it can be hectic and it can be mundane. It is true that our salary is less than neighboring counties, an issue which our administration is and has been working to correct. The facts being presented are not entirely true. Montgomery County correctional officers did not receive a 16-25 percent raise, they received a 7.5 percent raise and contracted for 3 annual raises of 2.75 percent for a total of 15.75 over four years, an officer with similar tenure to my own has seen an 18 percent increase over the last four years. Both Montgomery County and Berks County while being paid more are also drastically understaffed. Berks County had an average daily population last year almost 200 over capacity, which was almost 300 greater than Chester County prison’s daily average population all while employing 30 less officers than we do. Montgomery County’s inmate to officer ratio is double that of Chester County. Dauphin County is also understaffed by comparison, averaging 200 more inmates and 30 less officers. Perry County employs 29 officers to our 244, so it is much less of a burden on the taxpayer to afford their salary.
While I appreciate Mr. Pielli’s praise, he has obvious ties to the union and more importantly the Democratic Party. While they have the luxury of engaging in political games those of us that work here want to no part of the politics. Daniel Carroll