The county, O'Donnell said, "can no longer take anything away from them . . . unless they negotiate with the Teamsters." That includes wages, health-care benefits, and other entitlements, he said.
O'Donnell said the county could file an objection to the unionization. But that doesn't appear likely.
"At this point in time, our focus is moving forward," County Solicitor Ray McGarry said. "It was a fair process, and the correctional officers have voted."
Some guards at the facility contacted O'Donnell several months ago to ask about the Teamsters representing them. Unionized public-safety workers, who include deputy sheriffs and probation officers, get more attention from the county commissioners than correctional officers, who were "kind of the group that time forgot," O'Donnell said.
Guards' complaints ranged from concerns such as shrinking salary and benefits, to the claim that officers sometimes relieve themselves in garbage cans because shifts are too shorthanded to allow bathroom breaks.
Other guards and Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro disputed such claims.
The union announced last week that it wants to expand its representation of law enforcement and correctional officers in Pennsylvania.
A Fraternal Order of Police official said the group continues to dominate in urban police departments and throughout most of Southeastern Pennsylvania.