Last month, California’s prison guard union struck a deal with Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration that secured $5,000 pandemic bonuses and raises for correctional officers.
On Tuesday, it made a $1,750,000 donation to Newsom’s anti-recall committee.
The filing was publicized on social media by Rob Pyers, research director for the non-partisan California Target Book and an expert in campaign finance. Pyers’ post showed that a fund controlled by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) made the massive contribution to Stop the Republican Recall, a committee launched by Newsom and his allies to defend the governor. The group claims a GOP coalition of “national Republicans, anti-vaxxers, Q-Anon conspiracy theorists and anti-immigrant Trump supporters” are behind the campaign to oust Newsom.
California prison guards to get $5,000 bonus, raises in deal with Newsom administration https://t.co/EHX9EjQ31w
— Capitol Alert (@CapitolAlert) June 8, 2021
CCPOA officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A recent poll from the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies and co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times found that Californians are almost evenly divided on whether to remove Newsom from office in a special election on September 14. The survey found 47% of likely voters support ousting Newsom, while 50% oppose. The Times described the difference as “just shy” of the margin of error.
CCPOA represents about 28,000 members. The union’s president, Glen Stailey, reportedly vowed to lead the group “into a different direction” last September. Members had taken a pay reduction amid the pandemic, and Newsom’s administration had just announced a plan to close a state prison, a move expected to affect 469 correctional officers’ jobs.
Last month, The Sacramento Bee reported the CCPOA had negotiated a new contract agreement with Newsom’s team in which “California state correctional officers will receive nearly $5,000 in pandemic bonuses plus extra paid time off.”
“It’s been a tough year for correctional officers,” Stailey said in a statement to the Bee. “We can’t just Zoom in to work. We’ve been showing up day after day under difficult conditions, and it has been hard on our physical and mental health.”
More details from the Bee:
The prison guards are getting their bonuses — a total of $137 million spread over two years — from the state’s general fund. They will also have the right to negotiate with the state for a cut of the federal relief package…
The state and the union representing prison guards both said the bonuses are intended to help the workers address the significant effects of COVID-19 on their health and wellness. The agreement provides two bonuses of $2,496 in 2021 and in 2022.
As of June, 28 employees of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had died from the coronavirus. At least 18 of the prison employees were members of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, according to the union.
Newsom’s anti-recall committee has also received significant financial support from other labor unions. The California Teachers Association has contributed $1.8 million, and Service Employees International Union California has provided $5.5 million more through various locals, according to CalMatters.