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Some prison employees get new bargaining power

Delaware Public Media

Some Delaware prison employees now have a bigger say in their pay and benefits.

A new law signed by Gov. John Carney Tuesday allows non-uniformed correctional employees, including counselors and administrative staff, to bargain over compensation.

The bill’s primary sponsor, State Rep. Michael Mulrooney (D-Newark), says it’s the right thing to do.

“These are the people that go to prison to go to work.  They may not be a correctional officer, but they are still behind the walls doing their job, exposed to the same dangers at different times. So, its important that we take care of them just like it’s important we take care of all of our state employees”

The issue of extending the right to bargain for compensation to these prison employees came up during hearings on prison conditions held in the wake of February’s uprising at Vaughn Correctional Center that left correctional officer, Lt. Steven Floyd dead.


State Sen. Robert Marshall is glad the state responded, but says more needs to be done.


“What we need to be mindful of is that we make an important move here today, but those employees that are being the blue wall day in and day out – the officers, the non-uniformed employees – need our support, need our help,” said Marshall.


The state public employees union called the new law a “first step” to recognizing and respecting the work done by those employed by state prisons.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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