AFSCME union pushes for more workers at ECI to combat ongoing assaults
WESTOVER, Md. – Those with the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees union are begging the state to hire more staff, to avoid more violent attacks at the Eastern Correctional Institution. A press conference was held by the AFSCME Thursday evening where members pushed the state to do something. “Make the necessary changes to ensure that people are going home in the same condition that they arrived at work,” says Patrick Moran, Council 3 President at AFSCME.
Those with the AFSCME say, they have finally had enough of the attacks on officers at ECI and they’re demanding change. “This could be life or death for my colleagues. What the administration has done is not enough, they must do more,” says Daniel Price, a Sergeant at ECI speaking on behalf of the union.
According to AFSCME Council 3, a major concern of staffing shortages is the major cause for the up-tick in recent attacks in the facility. They tell us, it is the state’s responsibility to do something about it. “Correctional officers deserve respect and it Governor’s Hogan’s and Secretary’s Green’s duty to do everything possible to keep us safe,” says AFSCME Local 3478 President, Rownite Stevens. She adds, “We are constantly running behind security risks, that’s not fair to us.”
With a 96 to one ratio of inmates to officers, they say it’s only a matter of time before someone can’t come home to their family. “It’s just unacceptable and it’s unfathomable that the state is sending people into these conditions and into these situations,” says Moran.
The AFSCME tells 47 ABC, they want more funding to hire officers with competitive pay, resources to have working equipment, and investment in current officers; something they say didn’t just come about with the pandemic, they say it’s been years. “We’ve said this for the last six to seven years, the administration has not taken that warning, they’ve not taken it seriously and this is where we are,” says Moran.
After their press conference, they say there are no excuses and something must be done. “They are members of families, they’re members of communities, they are tax payers, they go to work each day to do a noble and dangerous job and the state is absolutely and completely ignoring that,” says Moran.
Although no tangible solutions have been put in place, the AFSMCE union tells us, they hope this press conference doesn’t fall on deaf ears and they can come to a reasonable solution.