Union Out Of Control Essay

1812 words - 8 pages

A Union Out of Control
The California Correctional System which operates prisons in the state is broken and in dire need of reform but this can not be done because Correctional Officer’s union blocks any attempt to implement much needed reforms. So how does the State of California fix its broken prison system? The state must take on the Correctional Officer’s union and find a way to curtail and/or diminish its power. In laymen’s terms the state must break the union. This will be a very difficult task to undertake. This union is one of the most powerful unions in the state as well as the nation with very deep financial pockets for political action.
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What came out of those negotiations was a five year contract which might have been one of the biggest awarded in the State of California. During 2001, the state was basically broke and the new contract with CCPOA could not cost the state any money until 2004. This is called a back loaded contract. Since the contact was brokered this way, correctional officer could receive up to a 30% pay raise along with other benefits and perks. In January 2002, both houses ratified the contract and then Gray Davis, who was also the recipient of millions of dollars to this campaign by the CCPOA in his quest to become the governor, signed the contract.
Clearly, the CCPOA is a major player in politics in the State of California. CCPOA is the largest money contributor to political campaigns in the State of California. It gives twice as much money as does the teacher’s union and is much smaller. An example of this is in 1984 it donated 2 million dollars to help elect Gray Davis to the office of governor. The union also backed proposition 184, and the 3 strikes law, by giving $100,000 to help get the measure passed (“The CCPOA and California State Politics”). Just this year, the CCPOA donated 1 million dollars to fight Proposition 5, and it dropped its recall effort against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger because of anger over contract disputes. “CCPOA never has been shy about making sure that our voice is heard,” Corcoran said. “We’ll continue to do that” (Sanders A4).
Above all, one of the most important parts of reforming California prisons is to relieve overcrowding. In October of 2006, the Governor ordered inmates to be sent to private prisons in other states. The California lawmakers had a deal for prison reform which would have added 53,000 beds as well as improvements to improve rehabilitation programs. The state has a court-imposed deadline to meet or the Federal Government can and will step in and take over the states’ prison system. This was supposed to be a quick fix to allow the department to continue running. Mike Jimenez, president of the California Correctional Peace Officer Association, objected to this deal saying it only created a bigger prison system with the same problems. “At some point, it’s going to break,” he said (“California’s top lawmakers say they have deal for prison reform”).
Since November 2006, more than 3,800 California prisoners have been moved to Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Arizona private prisons. The CCPOA and the Service Employees International Union Local 1000 filed suit in October 2006 to block the transfer of prisoners to other states saying to violated the Emergency Services Act. In February 2007, a judge sided with the unions saying the governor did violate the Emergency Services Act. But in June 2008, the appeal by the governor found that he did act with the scope of his powers and that prisoner transfers could continue. CCPOA lawyer Gregg Adam stated that the union would probably file...

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