WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- Winnebago County Correctional Officers say they want a $2.00 per hour pay raise because they are paid less than their counterparts in neighboring counties - and those counties don't have to deal with jail overcrowding and dangerous inmates.
On Tuesday the AFSMCE Local 473 held a press conference outside of the jail to put pressure on the Winnebago County Board.
Officers say negotiations began back in 2008, when an arbitrator and a job study found they were paid less than the market rate for correctional officers in the area.
At the time, the County Board couldn't afford the suggested $2.00 an hour raise because the general fund had depleted. So an arbitrator ruled, among other things, once the general fund surpassed $50,750,000, the County should pay the officers an extra $2.00 an hour.
The Union says the general fund reached that level in September of 2010 but they haven't been given raises yet.
In May, the Board voted for a 51 cent raise, but the union hasn't accepted that offer because they say there are too many strings attached. The County wants them to sign a memorandum which would relieve the County from the responsibility of eventually paying the full $2.00 increase.
Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers says he hasn't been involved in the feud, but he's not aware that any of his 177 correctional officers have left for the sole reason of getting paid more in a different county.
Officers say they are overworked and underpaid, and because of jail overcrowding, their jobs demand more from them than ever before.
They says it's time for the County to recognize their work and compensate them fairly.
The next County Board meeting is on July 26.