State Correctional Officers Converge on GEO Headquarters

Sep 21, 2011, 11:15 ET from International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Teamsters Deliver Ethics Complaint to Company Doorstep in Boca Raton

BOCA RATON, Fla., Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Correctional officers from across the state joined with Teamster members to deliver an ethics complaint today to The GEO Group Inc., one of the largest private prison companies bidding on the operations of Florida prisons.

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Hundreds of correctional officers from Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) facilities across the state delivered the complaint to GEO officials at the company's headquarters in Boca Raton.

"We know that privatization is wrong," said Anthony Caravaglio, a sergeant with eight years of seniority. "Not only is the bidding process for finding a privatization firm extremely flawed, the result is a poorly run prison facility. We're here today to tell The GEO Group that it is not going to put good jobs and public safety at risk for corporate gain."  

The Teamsters Union filed the ethics complaint last week in Tallahassee with the State of Florida Commission on Ethics. The complaint exposes the tainted bidding process for the privatization of prisons in FDOC Region 4, which includes 18 South Florida counties.

The GEO Group and CCA, the two private companies bidding on the operations of Region 4 prisons, have contributed nearly $1 million to the political campaigns of Gov. Rick Scott and other state politicians. Despite the overwhelming evidence that privatization costs taxpayers more money and that prisons run by private companies are poorly run, the governor has continued to push for privatization.

"This is just the latest example of how the Teamsters Union is fighting with us," said Kelly Barbera, an FDOC corrections officer and 12-year employee of Martin Correctional Institution, who was one of the officers who delivered the ethics complaint to the company. "If a privatization scheme goes through, we could lose our jobs and our communities will be harmed. The Teamsters have shown time and again that they are strong and will fight privatization."

The Public Services division of the Teamsters Union already represents law enforcement officers in over 1,400 departments and agencies nationwide. The good contracts and strong representation the Teamsters have brought to this field have improved working conditions for correctional facilities employees.

The union is assisting 20,000 Florida Department of Corrections officers seeking aggressive union representation. For more information, please see the website http://fdocteamsters.org

Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information, go to www.teamster.org

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters



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