Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Act 10 Keeps "Saving" Taxpayers Money - The Corrections Edition

At Cog Dis, we have spent considerable time and pixels on the costs of Act 10, both in the financial sense and in less tangible, but still very real ways.

Jeff has talked about how it set up the education system for failure.  I've talked about how it has hit Milwaukee County particularly hard and has created an atmosphere where nepotism and cronyism is the norm.

One statewide area that has also been hit extremely hard by Act 10 is the Department of Corrections.  There has been a spike in assaults and injuries to correction officers.  This led to a cover up and might eventually lead to Walker trying to privatize the system.

But the corrections officers aren't sitting back and just taking it.  They are fighting back in the only way left to them - the courts.  And it looks like it will cost the taxpayers plenty (emphasis mine):
According to the lawsuit, the state Department of Corrections issued a policy on Jan. 29, 2012, stating that employees are considered “on duty when they are present at their assigned post/work location prepared to assume their duties at their designated start time.”

But the guards allege it means they aren’t paid for pre-shift work that serves DOC’s interests, such as passing a security screening, participating in roll calls and fitness for duty checks, checking out and receiving equipment and traveling through prisons to their assigned posts, all while being ready to respond to emergency calls.

They also alleged they are not paid for post-shift work that includes communicating with relief officers, checking in work equipment and passing a security screening, again while being available for emergency calls.

The DOC’s failure to pay guards for that time is “willful and in bad faith,” the lawsuit states.

A class action lawsuit was filed because Act 10, signed by Gov. Scott Walker in March 2011, removed collective bargaining as a means to resolve disputes like this one, the lawsuit states. Individuals lack the means to file separate lawsuits, which would also be expensive to the state, the lawsuit states.

“Wisconsin 2011 Act 10 prohibits members of the class from collectively negotiating with the DOC to seek redress over issues of wages, hours and working conditions,” the lawsuit states. “This leaves a class action complaint as a sole means to seek redress from a neutral decision-maker.”
The article states that one correction officer already won his personal complaint on this, setting the precedence for the other officers to win their lawsuit. Needless to say, if it becomes a class action lawsuit, the back pay alone will cut into Scott Walker's alleged "savings" due to Act 10 and then some.

All that glitters is not gold and all that the Walker says is saving us money doesn't.


  1. "The article states that one correction officer already won his personal complaint on this, setting the precedence for the other officers to win their lawsuit."

    Winning a personal complaint does not mean prevailing in court. Did this officer win an actual case? If so, when? Which Judge?

    1. All those answers can be found at
      Ruling that state shorted CO on pay could cost millions of dollars

      The bureau this month ruled (Paul) Mertz had been denied pay in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and ordered the department to pay him back pay equivalent to 35 minutes of work a week. It also ordered the department to change how it pays all Redgranite officers starting next month.

      Jeffrey Glick, an equal rights officer at the Labor Standards Bureau, wrote in his July 10 ruling that Mertz is on duty and eligible for pay as soon as he checks in with a supervisor and goes through roll call, even if that is an informal process in Wisconsin prisons. That means he must be paid for his walk of perhaps 5 minutes through the prison to his job post, Glick wrote.

      "He is, despite the absence of an actual time clock, 'on' the clock at the conclusion of roll call and fitness for duty check, and (Department of Corrections policies) cannot change that fact," Glick wrote.

    2. Thank you anon 7:05 ! Appreciated.

  2. Does this mean that state workers have rights? Can't Walker and the Republicans declare them to be "indentured servants?"

  3. Hoist on own retard.

  4. Capper, thanks.

  5. just wait soon Walker and his policies will be coming for you.

    Police and fire fighters thought they were safe.

    With Walker there is always more to come.

    You think you're safe from his trashing of the state.

    Unless you are one of the top 1% you are kidding yourself.

  6. enough to be bought outright by one of his many donors. Then those public workers will be indentured servants. If he had his way, all workers would be shopping at the company store and paying back the company for breathing their air and using their toilets. It will happen, just wait.

  7. Walker is trashing the state so it is cheap enough..

    Was missing from my above post.