LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Metro Corrections Fraternal Order of Police representatives say they could sue the jail's leaders if contract violations regarding forced overtime are not discussed or fixed.
The attorney for the FOP filed the grievance on behalf of its members on Monday. It states, "Officers by the handful are being forced to work far more than 16 hours of overtime in a week." The letter continues, "This practice violates the contract, local law, and the safety of the officers and the inmates." You can read the entire letter below:
The FOP’s president, Tracy Dotson, said some officers are forced to work up to 40 hours overtime every week. He said some officers volunteer to work, more but most are forced.
"Physically and mentally," said Dotson, "you can only take so much of this. And it’s been going on for months."
Dotson explained officers will be notified anywhere from a half-hour to five minutes before their first eight-hour shift is over that they must then stay to fill another shift. The president said that nearly every day, some officers must work back-to-back eight-hour shifts. If an officer refuses, Dotson said that will result in disciplinary action. He said refusal is considered insubordination, which requires a one-day suspension.
The grievance demands that the practice of extra forced overtime stop. If not, the FOP expects to renegotiate the article in the contract.
"If this is going to be the way you're going to do it, we need you to come back to the table and renegotiate this article, and sit down with us and meet with us to make this more beneficial to these members who are working themselves to the bone," Dotson said.
Currently, officers will get one hour of vacation time for every hour of forced overtime. Now the FOP is asking for that plus double-pay for every forced hour.
Dotson said if jail leaders refuse to listen, then the FOP will sue.
"You're violating our contract," said Dotson. "We want it to stop. And if it doesn't, we're going to sue you in circuit court."
The excess overtime causes Dotson concern for the safety of his officers and the inmates.
"One slip up," said Dotson, "one falling asleep at your post, could give somebody time to hang themselves in their cell or assault somebody. If we're not constantly vigilant, people suffer. And you can't be constantly vigilant when you're working 30 to 40 hours of forced overtime a week. You just can't."
A new class of recruits is expected to graduate in June, but that does not provide any immediate relief. Dotson said the jail has at least 50 vacant positions.
"It's just wasting taxpayer dollars left and right on this issue, either through the budgetary overtime or to fight the grievances instead of fixing the problem," Dotson said.
Metro Corrections leaders have not responded yet to a request for comment.
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