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AFSCME President Saunders: Honor America’s corrections officers by keeping them safe

WASHINGTON — AFSCME President Lee Saunders released the following statement for National Correctional Officers Week, May 7-13, 2023:

“Every day, corrections officers across the country are hard at work protecting our communities. Even in the most challenging circumstances – like those they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic – they demonstrate what it means to serve with courage, pride and professionalism.

“Our duty this National Correctional Officers Week is to honor this essential workforce by securing their safety and well-being. Widespread, chronic understaffing is leading to mandated overtime, dangerous working conditions and burnout. Through it all, AFSCME members have stayed on the job. We know what it will take to solve this crisis, and we are marshalling the full power of our union, with 85,000 corrections officers and corrections employees, to staff the front lines.

“We must invest in recruiting and retaining skilled, dedicated professionals. We must also ensure their freedom to negotiate for higher pay, better safety standards and basic respect. And AFSCME members will continue to lead the fight against private correctional facilities, which serve corporate interests at the expense of officers, inmates and our communities.

“From the bargaining table to the halls of government, that is our calling and that is our commitment.”

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