|Other Issues||December 23, 1999Dont go along with schedule screw-up
Soon, they may lay you off. But first, theyre going to mess with your life.
Thats the message your Ministry Employee Relations Committee got when it met with Corrections Division officials Dec. 13.
The Ministry tabled a document called "Scheduling Principles for Correctional Officers and Youth Officers." If implemented, their plan will radically change the way shift and vacation scheduling works in Ontario jails.
"This is completely draconian," says union MERC Chair Barry Scanlon. "Over the last 25 years, weve managed to get scheduling to the point where there is a balance between the need for staffing and the needs of staff. Theyre ready to bulldoze everything."
The Ministry is not talking about negotiating these changes. Theyre talking about imposing them. They want to set the stage for nine-to-nine shifts (slated for April 1) and a lot of surplus notices.
"We are asking all locals not to negotiate anything at their facility until weve had a chance to go back to the MERC table and put some pressure on the Ministry," said Scanlon. "Anything agreed to by one local can and will be used against every other local."
Heres a sample of what the Ministry plans to do:
A complete version of the governments plan can be seen on the OPSEU web site at www.opseu.org/ops/
"This exercise is all about changing our schedules so they can reduce the complement of classified Correctional Officers in preparation for superjail staffing levels," says Scanlon. "We believe it violates the collective agreement and shows contempt for the Grievance Settlement Board and past practice.
"This is a total withdrawal of good will by the employer," he said. "Correctional officers can help in the fightback by stepping down from acting positions and other voluntary assignments."Actors step down
Members across the province are turning up the heat as the number of correctional facilities without acting managers continues to grow.
As of today, 13 institutions have had members step down from acting management positions. More institutions are promising to do the same in the next few weeks.
For details, call Don Ford at OPSEU head office, 1-800-268-7376 ext. 356, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.Whats a "youth officer"?
The Ministrys Dec. 13 scheduling plan refers to "Correctional Officers and Youth Officers."
"Theres just one small problem with that," says OPSEU MERC Vice-Chair Dave Graves. "Theres no such thing as a youth officer. Obviously, the employer has a new classification in mind for Correctional Officers in Young Offenders units."
OPSEU will challenge any move by the Ministry to limit the rights of COs through the creation of "bogus classifications," said Graves.The EAP: Confidential help when you need it
Troubled by family or personal problems? The Employee Assistance Program is there for you 24 hours a day.
Working in correctional services is hard enough without the added stress caused by the employers plans for layoffs, privatization, and other changes. With the EAP, one phone call puts you in touch with specialists trained to help people with marital issues, substance abuse, financial difficulties, depression, legal predicaments and other personal problems.
EAP counsellors do not work for the Ministry of Correctional Services. They work for CHC-Working Well, a private company under contract the Ministry. Nothing you say to them can be released to anyone without your written, informed, and voluntary consent.
Classified and unclassified employees and their dependents are eligible. Short-term counselling to you or your dependents is free.
EAP 24-hour toll-free lines:
1-800-268-5211 (Canada-wide English)
1-800-363-3872 (Canada-wide French)
1-800-363-6270 (TDD English)
1-800-263-8035 (TDD French)
If you are an OPSEU member with questions about the program in general, contact Dave Graves at (705) 232-4543.
Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman, President.