Nevada corrections officers, other state employees likely to get 3% pay raise next year
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - When an inmate escaped from Southern Desert Correctional Facility in September, state leaders said staffing shortages may have contributed to it.
Organizations that represent corrections officers in the state told FOX5 finding and retaining officers has been a major issue.
The union that represents state workers from industries like corrections, mental health services and maintenance in Nevada announced Monday that Governor Steve Sisolak requested a bill that would appropriate funds for a 3% wage increase negotiated by AFSCME.
“As the union for Nevada state employees, AFSCME is proud to have delivered a strong first contract, and the only union to deliver two 3% wage increases for state workers,” President of AFSCME Local 4041 Harry Schiffman said.
Schiffman said salary is the primary issue in trying to retain and recruit for state jobs. He said careers, like in the corrections department, are becoming training grounds and then workers take a leap to something with better pay.
“They end up getting whatever their certifications are and then they end up leaving to Metro or any other surrounding state. They’ll go work in their corrections offices,” Schiffman said.
The prison the inmate escaped from has 182 sworn custody staff as of last month. There’s a 37-to-one ratio of inmates to officers, according to a source with knowledge of the Nevada Department of Corrections.
Since the escape in September, it’s not clear if any staffing issues have been solved. At High Desert State Prison, for example, records show as of October there is fewer mandatory staff than in 2021. There are 23 fewer required officers during the day and 20 fewer during the swing shift.
Union leaders said it leads to way too much-required overtime and a lack of oversight.
Schiffman said Gov. Sisolak’s signing of the collective bargaining bill in 2019 sets up a higher likelihood of consistent pay raises in the future, which hopefully retains state workers like corrections officers.
The union hopes this wage increase will be one of the first seen by state lawmakers when the legislative session begins in February.
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