COs working unpaid relying on food pantries to feed families

COs are considering leaving their jobs if the shutdown isn’t resolved

By CorrectionsOne Staff

DANBURY, Conn. — Corrections officers are having to cut paid vacation time short because of the shutdown as well as rely on food pantries to feed their families.

"It's use or lose, I'll never get that back," corrections officer Pat Wynne of the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury said. "I'm not the only one, there's many people that came back early from vacations and doing stuff with their children. It's horrible."

According to The Washington Times, Danbury and many other corrections officers had to return to work during the holidays because their paid leave had been canceled.

Last Friday, 100 correctional officers and about 160 support staff at the facility missed their first paycheck as a result of the shutdown. Many officers have already suffered long-lasting financial consequences and are considering leaving the profession if the shutdown continues.

"I've spoken to people at work, yesterday; they've already made arrangements with the captain. They told him if they don't get paid this week, they won't be coming to work. They don't have the funds,” said Andrew Uberroth, a corrections officer and president of a local American Federation of Government Employees union branch. “They're choosing between either putting food on the table for their family or driving to work and not getting paid. So they're choosing their families first."

Corrections officer Chris Beasley is now relying on food pantries to feed his family in order to continue to work full-time without pay.

“We’re already going to food pantries. I’m already having officers tell me we have to go to food pantries to get food and stuff,” Beasley told CNN. “It’s getting to a point that we can’t do anything. We’re working 40 to 60 hour weeks, we can’t get another job. I’m being told we can’t file for unemployment because the officers are working over 32 hours a week.”

Officers are considering leaving their jobs if the situation doesn’t resolve. 

"They're just going to leave and the government is going to lose employees by the handful," corrections officer and union member Robert Curnan said. "The people who come to work and do the right thing and pay their bills, these are the people that aren't going to be afford to stay."

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