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May 29, 2024
About Oregon AFSCME Corrections

Oregon AFSCME proudly represents over 3,175 employees of the Oregon Department of Corrections in 12 institutions and various other DOC worksites. Roughly 1,850 of these are in the Security Bargaining Unit — Corrections Officers, Corporals and Sergeants. Another 1,325 are in the Security Plus Bargaining Unit, in some 125 different classifications in both the prisons and DOC administrative offices.

AFSCME is the leading public safety union in the State of Oregon. In addition to state Corrections employees, this union represents assorted city police and county sheriffs, state and local parole and probation officers, non-sworn employees of the Oregon State Police, juvenile parole and probation officers at the Oregon Youth Authority, 911 operators in several jurisdictions, the Port of Portland Police, investigators and other employees of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission as well as workers at the state Office of Emergency Management, Fire Marshals, Department of Public Safety Standards & Training and the Oregon Military Department.

AFSCME-represented Corrections members are also automatically part of AFSCME Corrections United, the national union’s auxiliary organization devoted to Corrections employees nationwide. AFSCME Corrections United includes 62,000 Corrections Officers and 23,000 other Corrections employees (such as our Security Plus unit) who’ve joined forces to fight for better pay and benefits, for safe workplaces, and to uphold the standard of professionalism in our field. ACU members are men and women working all across the country, in maximum-, medium- and minimum-security facilities, both state prisons and county jails. ACU has a proven record of accomplishments on the federal, state and local levels, and at the bargaining table — fighting to improve the pay and working conditions of all COs and Corrections employees.

This strength-in-numbers means that whether the issue is state-oriented in Salem or of national concern in Washington, D.C., professional AFSCME lobbying staff are joining forces with our frontline Corrections members to fight the fight for you.

Here are just three examples of key legislation passed over the years in Oregon by AFSCME on behalf of our Corrections members:

  • Training — As recently as the late 1980s, there was virtually no training mandate for DOC employees. New hires were completely at the mercy of the bosses at their particular institution and, more importantly, their co-workers. AFSCME changed that by passing legislation requiring DPSST-certified (or equivalent) training for all Oregon DOC Corrections Officers.

  • No Private Prisons — One of the biggest threats to Corrections employees nationally are privately run, for-profit prisons. Private prisons take public jobs away and lower the standard for Corrections pay. How? It’s a simple formula — they pay less in salaries and benefits, and they scrimp on security. You don’t have to worry about private prisons in Oregon because they’re illegal here, thanks to an AFSCME bill passed years ago. And AFSCME followed up with legislation that prohibits the Oregon DOC from even sending any of its prisoners to a private prison out-of-state. Private prisons are simply not an issue in Oregon due to AFSCME’s diligence.

  • No Free Weights — Several years ago, one of our Corrections Officers was severely injured at EOCI by an inmate with the weight bar of a free weight system. The DOC called it an “isolated incident” and planned to do nothing. AFSCME, over the DOC’s objections, passed a bill banning free weights from the Oregon prison system. Only universal weights are allowed, because AFSCME stood up for the safety of our members over the supposed “needs” of the inmates.

There are many other examples of AFSCME using its political clout to benefit its Corrections members. We are a member-driven, bottom-up organization that strives to do our best every day. There is an old cliché that says, “You can’t spell union without you.” Trite, perhaps, but true. Get involved! AFSCME is proud to represent Corrections employees, and your participation will only make us better and stronger.

Page Last Updated: Oct 13, 2014 (13:57:30)
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