OPEN LETTER to Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg

Dear Sheriff John Idleburg:

Teamsters Local 700 has reached a breaking point in the fight for fair treatment of our members within the Lake County Corrections Bargaining Unit. Your administration continues to reinforce the neglectful and incompetent status quo that has only expanded under your leadership.

Unfortunately, Teamsters Local 700 will need to take steps to bring this situation to the general public if we cannot reach a compromise quickly. Our members are exhausted from what they consider perpetual dysfunction within the Lake County Corrections apparatus.

Following years of ignored complaints and pointless labor-management meetings, Local 700 leadership will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our membership, proclaiming the shortcomings of your administration. Public disclosure of our members’ grievances will include the following:

  • Staffing shortages, with minimal efforts towards hiring replacement personnel
  • Mandated overtime, often leading to 16-hour shifts for officers, more
    then once per week.
  • Officers battling extreme fatigue, leading to some confusion and risking
    dangerous situations
  • Overbearing assignments that lead to unhealthy multi-tasking and a loss of concentration—a potential safety hazard
  • Officers forced to use sick days to rest for fear of “collapsing on the job.”
  • Ignoring how being short-staffed only leads to an increase in the clear and
    present danger of assaults and batteries threatened by inmates

This situation cannot be allowed to grow into an even larger powder keg of frustration than it already has. Teamsters Local 700 will press forward in addressing the inadequacies of your correctional institution until there is an amicable remedy to the above disparities!

IT’S TIME TO SIT AT THE BARGAINING TABLE AND DELIBERATE MORE EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS TO OUR EXISTING GRIEVANCES!

At every turn, we have been blocked by mounting excuses and stalling tactics repeated by your organization ad nauseam:

  • “We want the best of the best, so our hiring practices are selective.”
  • “Current employees not showing up to work creates a bigger problem than being
     short-staffed.”
  • “It’s an issue of comp time, personal time, FMLA, and disciplinary time off.”

We will no longer permit you to blame constant vacancy notices posted for upcoming shifts on the corrections staff and not your apparent lack of concern for the physical and mental health of the officers on duty. Your facility has had four years to negotiate better terms and conditions, yet you have remained defiant in correcting a nearly 5-year pattern of neglectful behavior.

  • How can you possibly expect longevity from a staff whose open complaints of double shifts, 60-hour workweeks, and excess overtime are ignored?
  • How are you bringing safety and a higher standard to the jail and the surrounding community by being short nearly 45 officers?
  • How do you allow your hiring practices to not keep up with your retirement rates or on-the-job injuries, which leave gaps in your scheduling and staffing?

You don’t, that’s how!

Instead, unfair labor practices such as forcing double shifts on our officers every other day, even after many have volunteered for 30 to 60 hours of overtime in the previous 14 days, seem to be par for the course for your corrections office.

Moving forward, we will bring as much attention as needed to address these deplorable conditions. We will escalate this situation to a new level of awareness and severity. We will no longer accept pointless labor-management meetings, stalling, nor your silence.

We will continue bargaining for our members with a no-holds-barred approach to what is acceptable and manageable for their health and well-being.

Sincerely,

Michael Tellez
Business Agent
Lake County Corrections

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