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Teamsters accuse Florida corrections department of wage theft

by Dara Kam | October 13th, 2011

The Teamsters Union is accusing the Florida Department of Corrections of cheating prison workers out of nearly an hour of pay each day, according to a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Labor yesterday.

But the Florida Police Benevolent Association, the union that now represents the state’s 20,000 correctional and probational officers, counters that the Teamsters, in an elections battle with the PBA over the prison workers, are “showboating.”

The one-page complaint, filed in Orlando, alleges the state is in violation with federal labor laws because correctional officers are not being paid for the time it takes for them to go through security and receive equipment such as pepper spray before they can clock in to work. They also have to clock out before dropping off the equipment at the end of the day, according to the complaint. The Teamsters are asking the Labor Department to investigate the practice.

“Correctional officers suffer because of wage theft by the FDOC and also because they have had no pay increases for the past seven years,” said Michael Filler, director of the Teamsters Public Services Division. “All officers who put in a fair’s day work are legally entitled to a fair day’s pay.”

Federal courts in other cases have ruled that the time spent before clocking in is compensable, the complaint says.

But the PBA executive director Matt Puckett said the Teamsters’ latest complaint is just grand-standing because the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled on the issue.

The high court ruled that state’s have sovereign immunity in wage cases, meaning the Teamsters complaint likely won’t go anywhere, PBA executive director Matt Puckett said.

Last month, the Teamsters filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Rick Scott’s administration over the privatization of the 18-county region south of Polk County to the Florida Keys. The PBA challenged the privatization in court and won after a Tallahassee circuit judge ruled the manner in which the legislature ordered the privatization was unconstitutional.

And, Puckett said, PBA lawyers worked out a deal with the corrections department so that prison workers who are late because they’ve had to wait in line to pass through security and get their equipment won’t be docked for pay or written up. That’s the best they could do, Puckett said.

“I think they’re trying to showboat a little bit. Unless they can go to the Supreme Court and overturn it, I think how we’re combating the issue with the DOC is the right way to go,” Puckett said. Ballots on the union representation start going out on Tuesday, Puckett said.

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14 Responses to “Teamsters accuse Florida corrections department of wage theft”

  1. AK Says:

    Check Scott’s pockets. The money may be there.

  2. Kathleen Hayes Says:

    The DOC workers are being cheated. Scott seems not to care…he saving money by stealing, in essence.
    This man could literally save the State enough money to pay the workers honestly, if he would look into the proposal to release elderly, non-violent offenders who have served over 20 years, many of them given unfair pro facto life sentences for marijuana only offenses.

  3. Thomas F Reynolds Says:

    The PBA is wrong on this one . They better stick with writing checks to Republicans running for office.PBA has been writting a lot of checks. I not saying that they are trying to buy this good folks , but they are looking for help in the prison war.Getting back to the wages the guards are being cheated out of , Meat packers had the same bs and won. Good job TEAMSTERS , get the money these hard working folks deserve.

  4. Jimbo Says:

    Just further reason why we should make every effort no matter what party affiliation, to keep the Teamsters out of Florida. They are going to do nothing but cause strife and division, all as a guise to enrich the party leaders. The Teamsters haven’t changed since the days of Hoffa.

  5. Mike Says:

    @ Jimbo..your statement makes no sense to me.I think you must be Jim Baiardi PBA “president” that no one voted to elect. Jim Hoffa was a great and brave man that stood for what was right and fair for the working class. And was willing to fight to get it. You sound like a coward willing to settle for scraps.

  6. RENEGADE Says:


  7. Metal Rules Says:

    If the CO’s show up on time where they are required to be searched, that’s when their day starts. Pure and simple.
    I’d just like to know why it takes a half hour to get in and another half hour to get? What are they doing? extracurricular cavity searches?

  8. No complaint Says:

    Private or Public citizens still pony up for the pay. Major difference- corporate profit doesn’t motivate the public sector. As for the complaint, ‘workers’ should be dressed for the job on arrival and none are paid to get there. These are trained officers or use to be. Arguement has no merit.

  9. Sick of Taxes Says:

    Where will all of this stop? Why not have the corrections officers be paid from the time they actually wake up,have breakfast,shower,shave,get dressed and drive to work since technically, all of that needs to be done for work. Thank union labor costs for American work being sent offshore, i.e. car factories. Aren’t the people doing the screening also union labor? Maybe they should perform their jobs in a timely manner instead of worrying about their breaks and lunchtime.

  10. Mike Says:

    While your thanking the Unions go ahead and thank them for weekends, sick time, vacation, and any and all health benefits.
    and just so you know C.O.’s don’t ever get a actual break or “lunchtime” since they do that on post too. Dumbass

  11. Sick of Taxes Says:

    @Mike-I guess you’re signing off as the “Dumbass” because you can’t even spell. I’m not thanking the Unions for anything.When you own your business- weekends, sick time, vacation and health benefits are dependent on your work ethic.All of the risk and investment is the owner’s responsibility. Unions demand a lot for the work they provide.Give me a break-they have lunch and break times which THEY ARE PAID FOR in the course of the day when they switch with all of their EXTRA co-workers. Stop your whining and go join the OCCUPY protests. You would be welcome there.You sure can hurl the nastiness and name calling but can’t take anyone saying anything about your
    almighty unions.

  12. Billy Says:

    Straight up thievery! The officers are fully dressed when they arrive to the front gate and enter the prison (begin work). At that point, they are searched to make sure they are not bringing contraband into the facility. Next, they are issued their equipment that must be stored in the control room, i.e. radio, mace, handcuffs. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to half an hour. They then make their way to their post. Employees are expected to arrive however early it takes to do all this, in order to arrive at their assigned post for the posted arrival time. If you are scheduled for 3am, supervisors tell you that you should arrive at the prison at 2:30am. Straight up theft!! No argument.

  13. Pete Says:

    Where I work, they tell us if we show up to work at the time we are suppose to be there we are late..We have to show up about 30min earlier to get our equipment, fill out our time sheet and then go to our post. It does take that long to do all of this because we have to get our bag searched, pass a metal detector and they pat search every 5th person..So we are losing about an hour a day, with gas prices the way they are, any little bit help…GO TEAMSTERS!!!

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