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DJS Staffing Meeting – Summer 2017

DJS Staffing Meeting – Summer 2017

It’s that time of year again – annual staffing meetings. From subpar equipment, to insufficient training
and staffing levels, AFSCME members are calling out Governor Hogan and state administrators, demanding that they take the concerns of state workers seriously. With staffing at crisis levels across various agencies and departments, state workers are sounding the alarm about the state’s inaction
and the dangers employees face on a daily basis.

On July 18, members of Local 3167 spoke with management about the retention crisis facing DJS. Members had hoped the agency had a plan in place that would increase retention rates – sadly, that wasn’t the case.

“Management didn’t give any indication that they had thought about this issue in depth, but stated that
they understood our concern,” Adrian Williams, an AFSCME Maryland organizer said.

When confronted about the quality of training needed to better prepare workers, management failed
to offer a real solution despite data showing an uptick in youth-on-youth assaults and disturbances
in the facilities.

“We have been working tirelessly to protect ourselves, the youth, and the community. We are put in situations with little to no direction and at this current moment we just want our leaders to lead,”
Denise Henderson Local 3167 President said during the meeting.

These aren’t problems that suddenly appeared in the facilities, leading to increased frustration among DJS workers. Staff have been calling attention to these issues for years, asking for more support and increased staffing in hopes of preventing a tragedy, Williams said.

“Management claimed that they have plans surrounding a relief factor but that isn’t evident by the way several facilities are functioning,” he said.

The state’s attempt at a solution – scheduling workers for overtime – is a shoddy solution for a critical issue, putting workers’ in harm’s way. Even worse, workers say the overtime and draft policies aren’t applied consistently to all employees.

“There are employees working doubles – sometimes four and five days in a row. You can’t expect people to work like that,” Williams said. “These are human beings with personal lives and families. They’re not machines. When they show up at these facilities exhausted and poorly trained, everyone’s safety is potentially at risk.”

Representatives from the state said they will have updates regarding members’ concerns
during the upcoming LMC in August.

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