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Federal Bureau of Prisons Settles Overtime Dispute with Leavenworth Guards for Nearly $400,000

On November 27, 2000, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the Council of Prison Locals, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 919 entered into a settlement agreement in a grievance filed by guards at the Leavenworth federal prison in Kansas. The settlement ended a dispute between the BOP and AFGE over the way in which overtime hours were allocated at Leavenworth in the late 1990s. Documents related to this case were received by PLN after a longstanding Freedom of Information Act request was just recently fulfilled by the federal government.

According to the formal grievance filed by "All correctional officers at U.S.P. Leavenworth," the assigning of overtime was routinely done in violation of the procedures negotiated in the latest work agreement. It was alleged that the assigning lieutenant regularly passed over up to 50 guards on the overtime list to give the coveted overtime hours to friends or relatives.

The grievance asked for (1) compensation for "every officer passed over" for overtime, (2) supervisors to follow the negotiated overtime procedures, and (3) unspecified disciplinary action. The grievance, filed in September 1998, was settled just over two years later with the following provisions:

Leavenworth guards were divided into six pay categories depending on how many times they got skipped over for overtime. The 240 guards covered in the settlement received a total of $379,200, with individual payments ranging from $1,000 for the lowest grade up to $3,000 for the highest.

The BOP declined to admit any wrongdoing in the case, and it is unclear from the documents provided if the amount of the settlement covered costs and attorney's fees. See: In the Matter of the Grievance Between Federal Bureau of Prisons U.S.P. Leavenworth and AFGE Local 919, FMCS Case No. 99-03241.

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Related legal case

In the Matter of the Grievance Between Federal Bureau of Prisons U.S.P. Leavenworth and AFGE Local 919