Lexington council members vote to approve contract with union for jail officers

Posted at 7:01 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 19:01:00-05

Lexington Fayette Urban County Council has voted to approve collective bargaining agreement between the city and the union for corrections officers. Two-year, $10 million contract.


A contract agreement between the City of Lexington and the local union for corrections officers was on the Urban-County Council's docket Thursday.

Corporal Michael Harris, the president of Town Branch Lodge #83, the local union for corrections officers, said he is "optimistic" that the new two-year, $10 million contract will help with recruitment and retention.

"I'm optimistic that this will help," Harris said. "But it's going to take a little time for that dent to be seen."

Harris said after contract talks stalled in December, both sides recently returned to the negotiating table when more officers started walking off the job. The Fayette County Detention Center has lost 120 corrections officers since last January, according to jail officials.

"Now that we got this through and behind us we can start working together on getting this place staffed and being safer for everybody," Harris said.

The new contract includes a $7,365 pay bump to every officer's base salary. The other features of the contract include:

  • New officers earning $20 an hour to start
  • Additional pay 3% pay increase starting Jan 1, 2023
  • Up to a $3,000 lump sum payment 
  • $1,000 incentive for bringing in a new recruit
  • Incentives for overtime

"I have heard from corrections officers that staffing is the most critical concern at the jail," Mayor Linda Gorton said in a press release Tuesday. "And that the best way to improve retention and recruitment is to increase pay."

There are currently 167 corrections officers, according to the press release. When fully staffed, the jail has 278 officers.

The staffing shortage has resulted in corrections officers working extra weekends, overtime, and holidays.

Harris said one of the most significant additions to the new contract is overtime pay on certain holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.

"That's an incentive for people to come in and work their regular shift instead of calling off," Harris said.

The contract also addresses concerns corrections officers had about grievance and discipline procedures, Harris said.