Corrections braves the weather to greet McGuinty
The cold, wet and grey weather did not deter
members of the Corrections Division as they paid a visit to Liberal Leader
Dalton McGuinty’s fundraiser in Ottawa on May 28, 2009.
The weather provided a suitable backdrop
that mirrored the treatment of the Corrections Division both during
negotiations and following the contract ratification.
Dozens of hardy members from both the
community and institutions attended the event to bring attention to the
deplorable working conditions and lack of human and financial resources that
exist at the ground level of Corrections in Ontario.
While members were peacefully demonstrating
on the information picket line, Brothers Gord Longhi and Eduardo Almeida
were able to conduct an inside lobby of the actual event.
Given that this was the Premier’s
fundraiser, there were many MPPs on site. Gord and Eddy had the opportunity
to address a number of Ottawa and area MPPs and explain that although the
Corrections Division may have a contract, significant steps would still be
necessary to get labour relations back to some semblance of stability.
Brothers Longhi and Almeida had an
opportunity to spend a few moments with the busy Premier and explained to
him that neither he nor his ministers are being given all the facts about
what is happening in the correctional institutions and community offices.
McGuinty was told that his senior management group is so disconnected with
what is happening on the shop floors, that when they report on issues they
give finely filtered information to suit their own needs, not the needs of
the actual ministry or what would best suit community safety.
Although the time was brief, Premier
McGuinty was advised that senior bureaucrats within MCSCS have violated
signed agreements and retracted verbal promises on such a scale that signed
documents are now seemingly not worth the paper they are written on. “So
what’s next?” we asked. “Tear up the collective agreement?”
The Premier thanked OPSEU for supporting his
fundraiser and asked for a summary of what is happening in Corrections so he
can review our concerns. McGuinty wants to know what the workers are seeing
as issues on the front lines from both community and institutions.
We ask that members forward their thoughts
to their local executives and the MERC Chair.
We also informed the Premier that we would
provide a synopsis for him and all the MPPs as the issue was relevant to
almost every community and constituency in Ontario. We look forward to
speaking with the Premier and Liberal MPPs once again throughout the summer.
Parties agree to normalize labour relations
In an effort to improve labour relations,
the employer and union met and have agreed to work more cooperatively toward
solving issues that have been plaguing Corrections for a number of months.
To that end, the union has signed an
agreement that will allow all locals to rescind all notices recently served
to their local superintendents, and we encourage them to do so.
The employer has also agreed to accept the
locals’ intent to rescind their notices of withdrawal from Compressed Work
Members are encouraged to make themselves
reasonably available for HPRO and participate in all activities within their
workplaces, including acting assignments. Management has assured us that
they will be looking into all management vacancies with intent to fill all
The MERC has also agreed to a Terms of
Reference with respect to a Security Provisions and Inmate Population
Management Committee. This committee is being formed to make recommendations
concerning current security provisions at provincial correctional facilities
and the management of inmate populations within those institutions.
Corrections MERC Chair Eddy Almeida is
“cautiously optimistic” that the Division can move forward on its concerns.
“We have agreed with the employer that it is
in everyone’s best interest to try to normalize labour relations in
Corrections,” Almeida said. “However, it takes two parties to make this
work. We will certainly do our part.”
Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 100 Lesmill Road,
Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8
Original authorized for distribution by Warren (Smokey)
Thomas, president and Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, MCSCS MERC Chair.
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