Thomas Johnson: FDOC Deserves “Equal Pay for Equal Risk” – A Personal Account

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Florida Public Employees – In 2013, Florida Department of Corrections sworn personnel were excluded by the Legislature from receiving added pay raises provided to all other State Law Enforcement agencies.   The following is an unedited personal account on the quest for equal compensation by FDOC personnel.


April 13, 2014

By Thomas Johnson

On the week of April 7th, 2014, I, along with some of my fellow Correctional Officers, took a trip North to Tallahassee, Florida.  The purpose of this trip was to stress to our Legislature that we deserve “Equal Pay for Equal Risk”!

During the first day of the week we walked the hallways of the Senate and House buildings letting everyone know that we had arrived.  We were wearing our FDOC deserves “Equal Pay for Equal Risk” shirts with pride.  There was a positive reaction coming from people stating simply, “Yes you do!”

Those three simple words meant a lot to all of us who took time to travel and represent our fellow Brothers and Sisters who could not make the trip.

During the very productive week we walked the halls of the Capitol, met with several House and Senate members in person, held a press conference sponsored by Senator Evers, and conducted a live interview on public radio.  We were very fortunate to have been able to actually sit down with several members of our Legislative body. One of the Legislators we met with was actually a Legislative member of my district.

We were actually able to educate some Legislators and received valuable information from others on how best proceed in the future. Over all, I feel like we did accomplish a great deal.

There was a lot of positive feedback and a show of support for hard working Correctional employees.  I can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to get involved and do what they can to make a difference.  I realize that it may be rather difficult for some to travel to the Capitol.  That’s okay, because every little bit counts a great deal.

There are several other ways one can help.  There are some things that can be done from home.  Send an email or make a phone call to a Legislative member of your district.  It is actually more affective if they hear directly from their constituents.  Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper is highly affective, as well as we can use that forum to educate the public.

There is only so much a Lobbyist can do. It takes the Officers to make the biggest difference.  Legislators know that the impact from their decisions affects their constituents.  In our case, it’s the Officers and their families who work and live in their districts.  They do realize that one of us equals on average three to eight votes.  In fact, one Senator we met with told us that he won his district by 17 votes.  That particular Senator voted against the privatization bill where as his opponent at the time was pro-privatization.  We all remember how close that vote was.  We can make a change, but it’s up to us to ban together.  That’s the only way we can truly make a difference.

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