Okla. DOC workers fight for pay raises

OKLAHOMA CITY – Department of Corrections officers are saying they are under-payed and overworked.

DOC officers rallied at the State House to protest their working conditions.

Those workers said they’re especially upset because the agency saw no extra funding in the state’s budget agreement announced last week.

Several DOC workers said low pay and high stress is what has led to huge turnover and hundreds of unfilled jobs.

“We do a job that a lot of people would never do; we work with the worst of the worst,” Capt. Doug Mccallister said.

The starting salary for DOC employees is just $11.83 an hour or just over $24,000 a year.

“We are completely worn out and tired,” Sgt. David Edelman said.

David and Doug said companies like Hobby Lobby start employees off with a higher salary than the DOC.

That makes it hard to hire qualified candidates, leading to hundreds of unfilled jobs in state prisons.

During a press conference last week, Gov. Mary Fallin and house leaders admitted raises for the DOC were simply not a priority this year.

Like most state employees, the DOC has not seen an across-the-board pay raise in seven years and there’s no promise that’ll change any time soon.

“We’re just asking for our just due,” Mccallister said. “If you worked in the private sector without a pay raise for seven years, you’d say, ‘Where’s my money?’”

Gov. Fallin has asked that a study be done for all state employee salaries.

Many lawmakers said they don’t want to address pay raises for any one agency until that study is complete.