UPDATE: Urban County Council approves new contract between city and union jail employees

Contract includes major pay raises and increases starting pay

Update from February 10, 2022:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – On Thursday Lexington’s Urban County Council unanimously approved a new two-year contract between the city and the union that represents corrections officers and sergeants at the Fayette County Detention Center, according to the city.

The contract received a first and second reading for swift passage so the pay increases outlined in the agreement can take effect immediately in an effort to help with employee retention and recruitment.

Under the agreement, employees will see a $7,365 bump in base pay immediately.  Starting pay will increase from $15 an hour to $20 an hour.  The contract also includes up to $3,000 in a lump sum payment per member depending on how many years the officers have worked at the jail.

The total additional cost will be $10 million over the two-year agreement.

The union says there are approximately 120 job openings at the jail right now.  When fully staffed, the jail has 278 officers.

The city and the Fraternal Order of Police Town Branch Lodge 83 have been negotiating for nearly two years with talks breaking down in late December, prompting the union and the city to file complaints against each other with the state Labor Cabinet.

The city and union say those complaints will be dropped now that the new contract has been agreed upon.

One side note, the Urban County Council will return to in-person meetings next week after meeting virtually the past several weeks due to the surge in coronavirus cases.


Original story below from February 8, 2022:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Corrections officers and sergeants on Friday voted overwhelmingly to approve a proposed collective bargaining contract, Mayor Linda Gorton said.

Gorton brought the proposed contract to the Urban-County Council for its consideration. The Council voted to put the contract “on the docket,” which triggers a first reading on Thursday.

“The contract provides significant wage increases to all sergeants and officers,” Gorton said. The total additional cost of the proposals is about $10 million over the life of the contract.

“We hope this contract will help relieve staffing concerns,” Gorton said. The jail has lost 120 corrections officers since last January, and officers are weary from working overtime. There are currently 167 corrections officers. When fully staffed the jail has 278 officers.

“I have heard from Corrections officers that staffing is the most critical concern at the jail, and that the best way to improve retention and recruitment is to increase pay,” Gorton said. “Officers have written to me, and to the Council, and spoken out at Council meetings about staffing concerns.” Local jails around the country, and Kentucky state prisons are facing similar issues with hiring and retention.

Features of the proposed contract include:

  • 2-year agreement (January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023)
  • All members will see $7,365 added to their base salary
  • New officers will earn $20 an hour to start
  • At the start of the second year of the contract (January 1, 2023), additional 3% pay increase
  • Up to a $3,000 lump sum payment per member in lieu of making the contract retroactive to 2019
  • $1,000 incentive for bringing in a new recruit
  • A quarterly incentive of $750 for an officer, $1200 for a sergeant, for working at least 147 hours overtime in a three-month period

The jail contract is the second collective bargaining agreement the administration has resolved since October.

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