On Friday, a new compensation plan was reached for Nebraska's corrections officers and safety and security specialists.
The agreement was reached between the Governor's office, the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents corrections officers for the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, and safety and security specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services.
The new agreement includes five components:
· Wage Increases: Corrections Officers will be reclassified as Corrections Corporals. Corrections Corporals, Unit Caseworkers, and Sergeants shall receive wage increases pursuant to placement on newly implemented seven step pay plans.
o New Teammates: New corrections teammates will see the minimum rate of pay for Corrections Corporals and Unit Caseworkers increase to $20.00/hour, while the Corrections Sergeant minimum rate of pay will increase to $24.00/hour.
o Current Teammates: Current teammates will have their rate of pay increase to the new classification minimum rate of pay or the same dollar amount that the minimum has been raised, whichever is higher.
· Performance Based Wage Increases: Corrections Corporals, Unit Caseworkers, and Sergeants will have the opportunity to receive step increases on July 1, 2020, following satisfactory performance reviews.
· Alternative Shifts: Right now, state prisons are run using 8-hour shifts. The State will get the discretion to implement 12-hour shifts at high-security facilities on up to 70 percent of posts, with the additional 30 percent consisting of 8-hour or 10-hour shifts. This will help create a safer environment for Corrections teammates, provide flexibility, and reduce overtime.
· Bonuses: The State will get the discretion to provide annual lump sum bonus payments of up to 10 percent of base wages to teammates in the Corrections Corporal, Unit Caseworker, or Sergeant classifications at high security facilities.
· Hiring Rate Flexibility: The State will get the discretion to hire corrections officers working in other jurisdictions, law enforcement officers, and members of the military at a rate of pay higher than the minimum rate for Corrections Corporals, Unit Caseworkers, and Sergeants based on applicable years of experience.
“Thank you to my team and the Corrections Union for coming together around a new pay plan that will help us recruit and retain a strong and effective team,” said Gov. Ricketts. “This new agreement underscores our ongoing commitment to the dedicated men and women who tirelessly work in protective services to keep the public safe around the clock.”
“Through our efforts to address compensation, improve staff safety, and increase teammate engagement, I am pleased to see turnover among protective service staff continue on a downward trend,” said NDCS Director Scott Frakes. “In a robust economy with record low levels of unemployment, we acknowledge that staffing challenges are not a quick fix. The great thing about improving retention is that it can build upon itself. Increasing the number of experienced teammates will facilitate the onboarding and engagement of new staff members as we move forward.”