Statement on OLA Report of DOC Operations

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Contact: Max Hall, 612-247-3725, [email protected]

AFSCME Council 5 Statement on OLA Report of DOC Operations

AFSCME Council 5 proudly represents over 43,000 state, county, and city employees throughout the State of Minnesota, including 1,900 brave men and women of the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Our members work every single day in often dangerous conditions with only one thing in mind: public and facility safety. 

The Office of the Legislative Auditor's report highlights the concerns within the Department of Corrections that our union members and officials have fought to change for decades. Improving the working conditions and safety in every facility across the state by increasing security officer staff has been and always will be a priority of our union and its leadership. The lives of our state's dedicated, career-oriented public servants must be valued above all else. They deserve to go home safely at the end of their shift, tuck their children into bed at night and embrace their loved ones again.

Our members have long felt the pressure chronic underfunding causes on an already strained corrections and criminal justice system. Every legislative session, our members from around the state, in all types of workplaces, come to the Capitol to advocate for critical investments that citizens of this state deserve and demand. The OLA report highlights the woefully inadequate level of funding to deliver these essential public services. 

The Department of Corrections has fully accepted the findings of the OLA report and AFSCME Council 5 will continue to push for critical investments to be made in front-line correctional officers and staff. We will work to improve and update the workplaces where our members carry out these critical services. Without safety and security at every one of our state's correctional facilities, mental health therapy, chemical dependency treatment, education programming and the like cannot fully help inmates and only creates a more tense, strained environment for staff and inmates alike. We remain committed to working with DOC Administration; however, we will not accept unilateral decisions in violation of our collective bargaining agreement.

We will continue to analyze the OLA report and will be meeting with our members to address ongoing ways we can work with the Administration, the Legislature, and other key stakeholders to improve the security, effectiveness, and overall environment within the Minnesota Department of Corrections on behalf of all Minnesotans.  AFSCME Council 5 greatly respects and honors the incredible work that correctional officers, staff, and all AFSCME members do on a daily basis.