On September 15, lobbyist Harry Hill and I testified during a Corrections Appropriations hearing regarding correction officer’s turnover rate and the lack of pay increases for officers. Also discussed was the shortage of officers and the tremendous amounts of overtime that staff is expected to work. The testimony seemed to be well received by legislators. Representatives Paul Fitzwater from the Potosi area was very vocal supporting corrections officers stating, “It is time for the legislature to take action to fix this problem”. Overall it was a very positive hearing.
On September 16, Harry Hill and I had another good meeting with Senator Dan Brown. We discussed pay issues for corrections officers. Senator Brown is our sponsor for the Hazardous Duty legislation and plans to vigorously pursue pay increases for corrections officers during the next legislative session that begins in January of 2016.
More meetings are being scheduled with other legislators to promote our issues. As information becomes available it will be posted on our website.
Thanks for your support,
Gary Gross, Executive Director, MOCOA
If you would like to be on the ballot for ACC, OCC, PCC, TCC, WMCC or WRDCC please call MOCOA at 866-346-6262 and let us know before October 16, 2015.
As many of you know, before 2000, corrections officers had a union that for twenty three years accomplished nothing. Many of our current employees were not around back then so we would like to take this opportunity to remind and/or inform our membership of our accomplishments. Since MOCOA became the bargaining unit in 2003 we have accomplished the following:
- We lobbied for and received the largest one time raise in the history of Missouri for corrections officers (8%) as well as other smaller raises
- MOCOA successfully got officers shift differential pay for first and third shift officers of approximately fifty dollars per month. This alone is 500% interest on your ten dollar monthly dues.
- MOCOA wrote and passed overtime legislation guaranteeing the ability of officers to collect payment for overtime worked. Before MOCOA, officers had no control over their overtime (they couldn’t collect for it nor could they get time off for it).
- MOCOA challenged the department in the courts based on our work agreement. The department was flexing officers off rather than paying them their earned overtime and we won. The department can no longer force flex your overtime worked rather than pay you. Due to our efforts, we have officers working overtime rather than a second job and making $35,000 + a year.
- When the association was founded corrections officers were making around $22,000 per year. Corrections officers 1 are now making, after probation, nearly $30,000 annually plus overtime pay. Is it enough? NO IT ISN’T. The economic crash that began in 2006, and that continues yet today, has slowed the growth and income for the state making it more difficult for us to generate pay increases for officers. We are still in the Capitol building every session trying our best to get officers more money. While these numbers may seem small to some, all totaled they add up to over $40,000,000.00 annually in corrections officers pockets. We will always continue this effort.
- Another huge accomplishment is our employee grievance service. We assist employees in filing grievances on a daily basis with a very high success rate of wins. This office serves 21 institutions across the state and has a very high volume of business related to employee issues. We are in contact with central office virtually on a daily basis addressing issues around the state. Through these communications we have been able to resolve many issues at many of your institutions.
Sometimes I hear, “We never see you”. This is probably true. In order to keep our dues at just $10.00 per month we only have three people running your office plus our lobbyist, who works only with legislators. This simply does not allow time for us to travel the state and visit institutions on a regular basis as often as we may like. Every officer in this state is always welcome at our office or welcome to call with any questions you might have.
Every person in the MOCOA office has previously been corrections officers and truly understands your struggles. Don’t hesitate to call if you have questions or issues toll free at 1-866-346-6262 or locally in the Jefferson City area at 573-634-7951.
Gary Gross, MOCOA Director