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Prison, union heads clash over conditions

Published On: Jan 30 2013 06:42:46 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 30 2013 02:13:36 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

The head of the state employees union told an Assembly Committee that safety at Wisconsin's prisons has deteriorated since workers there lost their ability to collective bargain.

Marty Beil told the committee Wednesday that staffing shortages have also led to increased stress on workers who are there and created an unsafe environment. He said six workers have been assaulted by inmates since Christmas Eve.

But Corrections Secretary Ed Wall said none of the people in any of those incidents were admitted to the hospital. He said he couldn't discuss them in more detail because of health privacy laws.

Wall and the others were scheduled to provide an overview of the state Department of Corrections for members of the Assembly's Corrections Committee.

Beil said the Wisconsin State Employees Union represents about 1,800 Corrections workers.

Prison guards have been organizing an effort to separate from the WSEU and form their own union. The guards' leaders have been engaged in bitter fights over election setbacks, discontent with labor leaders and anger over working conditions.

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