Pontiac correctional officers protest for back pay

By Denise Jackson

February 24, 2014 Updated Feb 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM CDT

PONTIAC, Ill. -- Pontiac Prison guards say the state legislature needs to come up with their back pay.

Dozens of people, armed with signs, protested outside of the prison Monday.

The demonstration took place as a handful of state legislators toured the facility. Pontiac correctional officers want the general assembly to approve legislation to provide back pay owed to state workers under a previous contract.

"I wish I knew what the holdup was," said Pontiac Correctional Officer Joe Lewis. "We see all this other money being spent out for things and here we are dealing with the worst criminals in the state of Illinois. We don't want the moon. We just want what's owed to us."

"The governor will introduce his budget here in a few weeks," said State Senator Jason Barickman. "Whether that will be part of a line item allocation within the budget or whether department heads will be tasked with paying those wages as part of the overall budget is unclear at this point."

A judge ruled that the state owes the money to workers along with raises. No deadline was set for when the $25,000 state employees would be paid.

A spokesperson from Governor Quinn's budget office said the governor has requested that the state legislature appropriate $112 million in back wages for state workers.

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