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FCC Hazelton employees to receive 25% retention bonus

The workers have been vocal about the working conditions and the amount of mandated OT they have been working due to extreme understaffing, with some working 16-hour shifts four to five days a week

FCC Hazelton

Federal Bureau of Prisons

By Erin Cleavenger
The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.

PRESTON COUNTY, W.Va. — Employees at the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC ) Hazelton in Bruceton Mills are seeing some light through the bars after the Federal Bureau of Prisons sent its approval of a much-needed employment incentive in an effort to address ongoing staffing challenges at the facility.

On Wednesday, Hazelton staff were told about the approval of their request for a 25% group retention incentive for all staff at FCC Hazelton.

The workers have been vocal about the working conditions at the complex and the amount of mandated overtime they have been working due to extreme understaffing with some working 16-hour shifts four to five days a week.

The facility was short more than 80 correctional officers at times over the past year.

“It was deserved for the staff, especially the officers that have been getting mandated on all this overtime, " Justin Tarovisky, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 420 union president, said.

The union leader said the approval only vindicates everything they have been saying since they held a protest in Morgantown in September 2023.

“The numbers matched up and it was true — everything we were saying, our vacancies, overtime, everything, " he said.

Tarovisky said while this is a big win for the Hazelton workers, he knows there is still a lot of work to be done.

“It doesn’t end here. Now it needs to kick in gear to hire other staff and provide that type of incentive to others that might have went to a different agency that doesn’t have a 25 % retention, " he said. “That’s a major increase in your salary and I believe it’s going to help out with the recruiting.”

Since the September protest, Tarovisky has been repeatedly saying the facility needs to get back to “common sense hiring " and allowing people to be hired on site instead of through an office in Texas , which has been the recent practice.

Hiring on site hasn’t been approved yet, but Tarovisky said FCC Hazelton has now filled the human resources manager position that was previously vacant.

“It’s time to handle that, " he said. “Instead of Grand Prairie, Texas , dealing with our applicants, we need to have our applicants being looked at here in Bruceton Mills where FCC Hazelton is located.”

FCC Hazelton employees who meet the specified criteria will be eligible to receive the retention incentive. Eligible employees must have a performance rating of “Successful " or above and must not currently be receiving a recruitment or relocation incentive.

The new incentive will supersede any previous group or individual retention incentive that is less than 25 %.

“It’s a great victory for the staff, " Tarovisky said. “But on the other hand of that, it’s what they deserve. These guys have gone above and beyond and have sacrificed so much with their families just being mandated so much here at Hazelton — it’s owed to them, and they deserve it.”

Specific details regarding the implementation of the retention incentive are not yet available, but workers hope to see a change in a month or two.


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