Duckworth Meets with AFGE Local 4070 President to Discuss Staffing and COVID-19 at Thomson Prison
[MOLINE, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today met with AFGE Local 4070 President Jonathan Zumkehr to discuss staffing, hiring and retention initiatives at the prison, as well as measures to keep employees and inmates safe during the ongoing pandemic. Their meeting comes one day after the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approved Duckworth’s, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos’ (D-IL-17) request for a 25 percent retention bonus at Thomson, which will provide current employees a much-deserved increase in pay. United States Penitentiary, Thomson is a high-security federal prison located in Thomson, Illinois. Photos from today’s meeting are available here.
“Ongoing vacancies at USP Thomson make it more difficult for overworked staff to carry out their duties—presenting significant risk to staff, inmates and the surrounding community,” Senator Duckworth said. “I was proud to help secure a 25 percent retention bonus at Thomson, which will provide current employees a much-deserved increase in pay and help improve staff retention and overall safety at the prison. Today, I’m glad to meet with President Zumkehr to discuss how Congress can continue helping the Union and prison advocate for federal support with staffing and retention needs.”
Last year, Duckworth and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) raised concerns about testing and understaffing at USP Thomson and have repeatedly advocated to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for increased locality pay, enhanced recruitment and retention efforts—including the 25 percent retention bonus—and proper COVID-19 precautions at Thomson.
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