The president of the state's union for corrections officers is out with a statement on the leak of a memo detailing the possible layoffs that might hit it if they don't agree to big concessions.
Donn Rowe (who is still president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association — despite an attempt from some officers to oust him) had the following to say:
"We are always open to a dialogue with the Governor and his team concerning the many issues that affect our members. However, as contained in the Director of State Operations’ recent memo, threatening layoffs to our bargaining unit – one that faces real-life safety threats everyday - is neither productive nor is it in the best interest of preserving New York’s safety.
We understand and appreciate that this is a difficult time for our State and its people. And, in this time of sacrifice, we have already given more than most.
In addition to the seven prison closings this year, in the past two years alone we have lost nearly 1,000 officer positions due to cut backs. At the same time the Department of Corrections budget has continued to grow. Meanwhile, the level of violence has spiked throughout the prison system with inmate suicides doubling and violent attacks up by more than 12%. We need officers to keep our jails safe, not more bureaucrats wasting taxpayer money."
These are basically arguments recycled from the discussion on whether to close prisons, with the added argument of: Hey, you guys already closed seven of our prisons.
The union and the state are still in binding arbitration for a contract that expired a few years ago, so when I called a few of officers I knew today, they were a bit surprised to hear that this was happening (more colorful language was utilized). A decision could be reached soon on that contract, I'm told.
Also, on Mr. Rowe... You may recall that there was some controversy over his re-election. A faction of the union called for a new election because of a contract employee's role. But the appeals were shot down. So Mr. Rowe is still president, and for the first time, a NYSCOPBA incumbent won re-election.