(4/3/12) Overtime pay for Wisconsin prison guards is still going up.
But the state Corrections Department says efforts are working to get it under control. The same law that ended most public union bargaining also ended the practice of letting guards work back-to-back shifts – and get time-and-a-half for one of them, while filling in for somebody who’s sick. Now, a guard gets regular pay for both shifts under the new law that took effect in January. Taxpayers spent almost 33-million dollars on prison guard overtime in the fiscal year ending last July. That was up 18-percent from the year before. Since July, overtime pay was up three-percent. But corrections’ spokeswoman Linda Eggert said it went down by 660-thousand dollars in January, soon after the law took effect. State Employees’ Union chief Marty Beil (beel) said the higher overtime now results from more jobs being left vacant. There are 209 vacancies for prison guards – up from 118 two years ago.