Strike news from your Corrections Bargaining Team
April 6, 2002
“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” - Janis Joplin
Media blackout continues
Due to the media blackout, we cannot report anything that is or isn’t happening at the Corrections table. Please stay tuned.
Message from the Chair
Corrections locals and their members remain strong and determined in Week 4 of this nasty strike. Numerous attempts by the government to intimidate our members, both in the courts and the workplaces, have only served to harden our members’ resolve to deliver essential services and get a good contract.
We ask that locals and their members keep up their amazing efforts and continue to follow the direction of your Team members. Together, we will win.
Barry Scanlon, chair of the OPSEU Corrections Bargaining Team
Your safety is being compromised
Probation and Parole officers and Probation officers continue to stand strong despite the government’s obvious contempt for our professionalism. On Apr. 4, eleven brothers and sisters were hauled into superior court on bogus contempt of court charges. This was a strategic ploy by Corrections Minister Rob Sampson
and manager Gilbert Tales in an attempt to intimidate and scare us into silence. Hats off to those sisters and brothers for their courage.
The Ministry states that they are concerned about public safety, yet they closed numerous satellite probation offices across the province leaving communities totally unprotected. We can’t supervise offenders if we are not in these communities. Communities that are unprotected and unserviced include: Bancroft,
Bracebridge, Cambridge, Campbellford, Chatham, Espanola, Goderich, Hamilton Mountain, Hamilton Provincial Court, Hawkesbury, Keswick, Kitchener West, Midland, Minden, Napanee, Newmarket, Niagara Falls, Oakville, Orangeville, Orillia, Ottawa West, Parry Sound, Renfrew, Scarborough West, Simcoe, Smith’s Falls, St. Thomas, Toronto Queensway
office, Trenton, Walkerton, Welland and Woodstock.
Probation officers want this government to recognize us and compensate us for unmanageable caseloads, faulty and costly computer technology, insufficient staffing and little or no training. We want and deserve respect and we will not back down.
Updates from the Regions
Members at Local 122 “not impressed”
In Region 1, Local 108 (Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre) and Local 128 (Sarnia Jail) remain out awaiting resolution on work refusals. Local 135 (Windsor Jail) has had a number of members suspended and continues to attempt to negotiate a back to work protocol. After eight days on the line dealing with a health
and safety work refusal, Local 119 (Stratford Jail) is back in the workplace, as is Local 122 (Bluewater Youth Centre). Local 130 (Chatham Jail) is also inside performing essential services at the time of this writing.
At Bluewater, three former OM16s, McClory, Frank and Larstone, have returned to work 24/7 at our expense. All of these managers retired within the last year (some or all utilizing the Factor 80 that OPSEU shamed the employer into providing for their managers). This has not impressed the members of Local 122.
Niagara D.C. - Ridiculous, frivolous suspensions continue
Illegal suspensions by management continue at Local 252 (Niagara D.C.). OM16 Jackson recently suspended an essential worker who was ill and wanted to go home. Jackson said he didn’t believe that the worker was sick and ordered him to remain for the balance of his shift.
When the worker insisted on going home because of his illness, Jackson threatened the worker with remedial measures - including dismissal! Ridiculous.
OM16 Jackson: Do you remember D3 in 1989?
Government flirting with disaster
Despite the best efforts of members at Local 359 (Whitby Jail), Local 341 (Millbrook C.C.) and Local 337 (Brookside Youth Centre) to adhere to back to work protocols, the employer is determined to thwart the process.
“The employer continues to blatantly defy the odds on health and safety,” said Larry Cripps, Corrections Bargaining Team member for Region 3. “The riot that took place at Millbrook last Saturday night should have been a wakeup call for this government,” Cripps stated. “Instead, the employer is content to use
untrained managers to supervise inmates. Not only do these quasi-managers put everyone in these institutions at risk, they are also jeopardizing public safety.”
“No matter how you dice it and slice it, the laws of due diligence still apply,” Cripps said. “This government is flirting with another Walkerton.”
Managers at OCDC “acting like idiots”
Members at Local 411 (Ottawa-Carleton D.C.) remain locked out. They report for each and every shift in uniform and are turned away. Despite OLRB rulings, the superintendent still refuses to allow worksite inspections. For this reason, there are no OPSEU members working inside at OCDC. It is a perfectly
reasonable position for members not to go to work until a worksite inspection is completed.
Managers at OCDC have opened and are operating the new pod despite the fact that no essential service agreement was ever negotiated for the new pod. Recently, the employer’s negotiating team proposed to the Corrections Bargaining Team an amendment to the site agreement for OCDC. As yet, the Team has not
discussed the issue of staffing for the pod under essential services.
It would appear that some managers at OCDC are losing touch with reality. Some of the accusations leveled against the lawful picket line have been ludicrous and without basis in fact. Even reasonable suggestions by union members to resolve impasses have been refused by managers. We guess that the Superintendent
at OCDC can’t make a decision, even a simple and sensible one, without the puppet masters jerking his string.
Once the issue of essential service staffing at the new pod is resolved, negotiations will begin on a return to work protocol for the members at OCDC.
“The members at OCDC are doing an excellent job despite provocation from an obstinate and unreasonable superintendent,” said Jim Bothwell, Corrections Bargaining Team member. “Even though the managers are acting like idiots, perseverance will pay dividends in the long run. The employer will be charged for
illegal suspensions at a number of institutions, including OCDC.”
Harassment and refusals
Members at Local 521 (Toronto Youth Assessment Centre and Mimico Correctional Centre) are still waiting for the Ministry of Labour to investigate work refusals in both units.
At Local 530 (Toronto Jail), members are back out on the picket line. As with other institutions across the province, management is doing everything in their power to suspend and provoke our members.
At Local 582 (Toronto East Detention Centre), members continue to wait in a safe place due to an ongoing work refusal.
Members at Local 517 (Toronto West Detention Centre) are working in accordance with the Essential Services Agreement, however, they are being continually harassed by management.
Action by members carried live on local news
The members at Local 642 (Monteith Correctional Complex) had had enough of their health and safety issues being ignored by both the employer and the Ministry of Labour. Searches had not been done in the jail since the riot that occurred on Mar. 15, even after reports of a window being found pried open in one of
the inmate living units. The members had done work refusals on the issue, and the local tried to negotiate a search. However, still no search was done.
On Tue., Apr. 2, the members took action. A large number of uniformed COs, led by the local MPP, marched to the front doors of the institution and demanded to be let in to do a search. All this was carried live by the local media. This caused the managers to become a little more than upset.
The member’s health and safety was finally addressed. This was only due to members taking action. That, along with the media presence, was just too much pressure for employer to ignore.
Not “business as usual”
Local 708 (Thunder Bay C.C.) is trying to regain control of their institution as management coddles the inmates - and party onsite. Worksite representatives discovered empty beer and wine cases on the property during a routine site inspection. The members are all out on the picket line due to work refusals and
breaches of the ESA, resulting in management running the facility.
Local 737 (Thunder Bay Jail), Local 719 (Kenora Jail) and Local 718 (Fort Frances Jail) are all meeting the requirements of the ESA that management negotiated with the union.
“It seems that management are having a lot of trouble dealing with the ESA that the employer negotiated,” said Len Mason, Corrections Bargaining Team member. “The employer has forgotten that it is not ‘business as usual’ and are crying because they have to work for their money.”
When a manager looks at an essential service worker, they should try to imagine that member working with a picket sign in their hand. Figure it out!
IMPORTANT! Send us the information!
Please send all pertinent information regarding significant local incidents, reprisal complaints, work refusals, illegal lockouts, and health and safety appeals, as well as discipline and/or suspensions, to both:
Koskie/Minsky - Barristers & Solicitors
Phone: (416) 977-8353 ext. 2104
Fax: (416) 204-2882
The Corrections Bargaining Team
Fax: (416) 815-1412
ESA Questions & Answers
Please call the OPSEU Central Mob Room at 1-877-561-8692 with your questions around Essential Services Agreements and arbitrated awards. Your bargaining team is very busy strategizing and mobilizing the locals and are not always available at the bargaining centre.
Inquiries may be referred to other areas that can deal with specific issues around your questions.
Corrections team members
Region 1: Jack Hopkins, L. 122
Region 2: Barry Scanlon, L. 230 (chair)
Region 3: Larry Cripps, L. 309
Region 4: Jim Bothwell, L. 467
Region 5: Dave Graves, L. 521 (vice-chair)
Region 6: Rick Dagenais, L. 642
Region 7: Len Mason, L. 737
You can reach the bargaining team at (416) 815-0284 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Burn Barrel will be available by fax, by e-mail, and on the OPSEU web site at www.opseu.org . To receive it directly, send your secure fax number to Lesley Williams at (416) 443-1762 or send your e-mail address to
The Burn Barrel is authorized for distribution by Barry Scanlon, chair, Corrections Bargaining Team, and Leah Casselman, president.