Parole Caucus meet at the Capitol to discuss pay and workloads

paroleMLD2013On Wednesday March 20th, 12 parole union members from across the state traveled to Austin for TSEU’s 2013 Parole Mini Lobby Day. Following a Parole Caucus Meeting at the TSEU office, members headed to the state capitol to meet with Senators, Representatives, and their staff to discuss our legislative goals. Among the goals discussed, was lowering parole officer caseloads to a legislated 60:1 caseload ratio.  Parole members reminded legislators and their staff of the fact that back in 2007 the legislature passed HB 3736 which established a standard caseload ratio of 60:1 but did not provide the funding to put the law into effect. Members made it clear that Texas must hold up to its promise and keep caseloads at a manageable level.  Members also lobbied for a stronger parole officer career ladder via an across the board pay for all state employees. In response to the Senate proposing a 3% pay raise and the House proposing 1%, members made it very clear that these proposals do not go far enough to help the tens of thousands of state employees suffering from low wages that fall far behind the cost of living. In addition to that, members asked that parole officers to be included in the 10% pay increase for TDCJ correctional officers given in the Senate version of the budget.  Parole members will be pushing for inclusion in the 10% increase as the final budget is worked out through the remainder of the legislative session. Responses varied from legislators and their staff in regard to our issues.  Despite any type of response, TSEU members know that the only way to gain traction on our issues is through mobilizing and organizing. That means getting coworkers signed up into the union, sending pay raise post cards, and turning out thousands of state employees for Lobby Day on April 10th.