Governor Pete Ricketts, state agencies, and representatives of the Fraternal Order of Police have agreed on terms for a new pay plan. The FOP represents corrections officers at the State’s Prisons and safety and security specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services.
The new agreement includes five components:
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.
In April, the State and FOP agreed on a system of merit bonuses for guards based on longevity. In July, other NDCS employees who had already passed those milestones were eligible for salary increases based on years of service.
The agreement is contingent on a ratification vote of FOP members.
“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.”
“This deal will help put Corrections on the right path to address the staffing crisis in our facilities and help us retain valuable employees,” said Mike Chipman, President of FOP 88. “With this deal our members will for the first time in decades be able to advance though a step pay plan. This will encourage people to make Corrections a long term career choice and reverse the trend in retention, which is the most important need for staffing. I want to thank Governor Ricketts for coming back to the table to help address this need. We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Ricketts and his team in the future.”
“This is a very important improvement in the compensation of corrections employees across the State,” said Gary Young, Chief Negotiator for FOP 88. “I appreciate the efforts of the State bargaining team and the help we have received from the State FOP and our local team. They have all worked very hard to get this deal done. We are hopeful that this will make a serious impact on staffing in our prisons, where it is desperately needed.”
“At the bargaining table we worked collaboratively to get a good agreement for corrections officers and the State,” said Jason Jackson, the Governor’s Chief Human Resources Officer and Director of the Department of Administrative Services. “This deal will make the State competitive with some of the highest paying counties in Nebraska while also allowing management more flexibility to make operational decisions effecting public safety.”
The Governor said the new agreement will be reflected in his budget recommendation to the Legislature in January. The estimated cost is $2,300,000 in General Funds for the 2019-20 Fiscal Year, and $5,700,000 the following year.