Forever Lebanon Valley

County Approves New Contract with Prison Guards

Lebanon County Human Resources Director Michelle Snavely discusses the new contract for Lebanon County’s prison guards.

What started out as a routine personnel motion at today’s Lebanon County Commissioners meeting was anything but.

County Human Resources Director Michelle Snavely asked for approval of a three year collective bargaining agreement between the County and AFSCME District Council 89, the union that represents correctional officers at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility.

Both sides have been negotiating hard since last fall and were just about to turn the contract talks over to arbitrators, when labor peace was forged.

Snavely discussed some of the features of the pact:

The C-O’s will also enjoy 4% salary increases in the second and third years of the contract, decreases in deductibles and copays for doctor appointments and prescriptions, restructuring of the longevity bonus plan, shift differential increases and increases in their annual life insurance coverage up to a maximum of $50,000 a year.

But Snavely said the part of the contract that the guards like the best are the news rules regarding mandatory overtime:

Under their current contract, all correctional officers must work overtime from day-1 of their employment and the rotational schedule falls hardest on those with the least amount of experience. She said that’s what’s exhausting the personnel and causing the massive turnover that the LCCF has experienced since the Covid pandemic began.

Reaction from Lebanon County Commissioners was universally positive. Minority Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz applauded both Snavely and County Labor Attorney Peggy Morcom, who she said were on the front lines of the negotiating:

Chairman Commissioner Bob Phillips, who was often times publicly frustrated because he couldn’t discuss the status of the negotiations as they were underway, said he was glad the issue was settled:

The contract was already ratified by a majority of the correctional officers, so today’s affirmative vote puts the new contract into effect immediately.