CORALVILLE, Iowa - Prison workers in Coralville say they're concerned about the current staffing level at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center. More than a dozen employees held a picket outside the facility Friday morning.
"We believe this institution is grossly understaffed," said Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Iowa Council 61, the union that represents Iowa prison workers. "Nurses who work inside the facility can't even get vacation."
Homan said the prison is down more than 50 workers since 2009. He criticized Governor Terry Branstad for not doing more to increase staff levels at prisons across Iowa.
"This governor needs to immediately fund additional positions for this prison," said Homan.
Some workers even put bags over their heads amid fears they would lose vacation time for participating in the picket, according to Marty Hathaway, a prison employee and local AFSCME president.
"People drive by the prison every day and don't know what's going on inside," said Hathaway. "We're here to let the public know we need the help."
"Danny Homan fights to keep child abusers in the Iowa Juvenile Home, got caught, and is desperately attempting to divert attention away from one reckless action by engaging in another," Tim Albrecht, a spokesperson for Governor Branstad said. "Governor Branstad has worked to coordinate with Corrections Director John Baldwin to facilitate a plan that balances the needs of correctional staff and inmates, and protects the taxpayers of Iowa. Shame on Danny Homan."
According to the Governor's office all staff reductions were made under previous Governor Chet Culver and no reductions in staff under Governor Branstad.