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Ruling: Prison guard should've been paid for roll calls

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A state equal rights’ officer said a prison guard worked without pay for 35 minutes a week, when the Corrections Department stopped paying him to attend roll calls.

In a decision made public Friday, Jeffrey Glick of the state Labor Standards Bureau ruled on July 10th that Redgranite prison guard Paul Mertz should have been paid for attending even those roll calls that were informal – and from there, he should have been paid for walking to his station within the prison.

Starting in March, the corrections department started the time clock when the guards arrived at their stations. Mertz filed a complaint challenging the policy.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel figures that Mertz is owed a total of $1,400.

The paper also says the state’s newly-created guards’ union will ask that all 4,900 correctional officers from around the state be included in the pay ruling. That would cost taxpayers an extra $6.7 million.

Union attorney Timothy Scheffler calls the policy a “wage theft scheme.” The state plans to appeal the ruling.