BULLETIN: Governor wants state employees to run food service

Today, Gov. Rick Snyder recommended that the Trinity contract not be renewed when it expires this summer and that state employees again run prison food services.
MDOC Director Heidi Washington issued a statement moments ago.

“Budget language first approved in 2012 required the open bidding of our food service operations to reduce costs. That boilerplate language is no longer in place. While this is a request made by the governor today, it is not a done deal and adequate funding for this change still requires the approval of the Legislature moving forward,” Washington wrote in the statement.

MCO members and leaders had voiced serious safety concerns about Trinity and Aramark throughout their contracts. These concerns led MCO to start a national conversation with other corrections administrators and unions. Poor food quality and quantity has created problems in prisons around the country.

MCO members never backed off from our security concerns around food service changes. We frequently discussed it with legislators, the media, and MDOC administrators. Members banded together on this issue and spoke with one voice. This shows our advocacy and persistence can lead to positive safety changes when we work together.

There are many unanswered questions about this transition back to state workers. When we have concrete details, we will share them with members. MCO believes that front-line staff are a resource and should be included in the conversation when these kinds of changes are made.

We all know corrections is changing around the U.S. Innovations and new technologies are unveiled every day. As corrections officers and professionals, we should embrace and help inform where these changes work and where they don’t. We hope corrections administrators will invite more frontline staff and their unions to the table to help think through the possible solutions.

MCO will keep members updated on any developments. Please watch our website, email newsletters, and our members-only Facebook group. You can also sign up for text message alerts by texting MCO to 787753.