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February 13, 2001
“Timing is everything”
RFP arbitration decision favours the employer
Yesterday, the Grievance Settlement Board ruled on OPSEU’s challenge to the
Penetanguishene Request for Proposals (RFP) process. The ruling did not go in
the Union’s favour.
OPSEU challenged the RFP process based on the argument that not all of the
work of the four jails linked to the new superjail was being transferred to that
facility. As such, OPSEU contended that a large number of employees listed on
the RFP should have been allowed to transfer to public service institutions.
Unfortunately, the arbitrator ruled that, with the exception of an undetermined
number of employees at Burtch C.C., the employer acted appropriately.
OPSEU’s legal case revolved around two main arguments. The first argument
was that employees at the four jails affected by the transfer (Burtch C.C.,
Guelph C.C., the Barrie Jail and the Parry Sound Jail) should have the right to
either transfer to the new facility with entitlements under Appendix 13
(Relocation Expenses) or have full job security entitlements under Article 20.
The arbitrator stated that Appendix 13 benefits are not specifically mentioned
in Appendix 18 (Reasonable Efforts), so the argument was dismissed.
The second argument the union put forward was that employees must follow
their work. OPSEU’s position was that a significant portion of the inmate
population at Burtch C.C. and Guelph C.C. were from areas that were outside the
catchment area of Penetanguishene. Therefore, we argued, a corresponding
percentage of staff must follow those inmates who weren’t going to Penetang.
This argument relied on the premise that the employer should not be allowed to
arbitrarily decide who is attached to a RFP, regardless of where their work was
Again, the arbitrator ruled against the union. The arbitrator only considered
where the employer said the inmates would go immediately after the closure, and
not where the inmates would go over the long term. Since the employer said that
the inmates would all be placed in Penetanguishene immediately after the
closures, the union lost their argument. “Timing is everything,” counsel
In the case of Burtch C.C., the union was successful in arguing that since
intermittent inmates would not be housed in Penetang, a percentage of Burtch
employees should not have to go to the superjail. The arbitrator accepted this
argument, and the union is scheduled on Fri., Feb. 16 to argue the number of
officers that should be excluded from the RFP.
Barry Scanlon, chair of the OPSEU Corrections Ministry Employee Relations
Committee, was extremely disappointed with the overall outcome.
“In light of the damage this decision has done to our members, and the
implications it has for other members of the OPS, we have asked our legal
counsel to look at the possibility of a judicial review,” Scanlon said. “With
this decision, the employer can pick any jail and any employee and attach those
names to an RFP. No member in this province is safe.”
This government is not listening. They are not listening to us, they are not
listening to the municipalities and they are not listening to the public.
We now need to make some tough decisions on how to continue this fight. We
have to take this campaign to a new level, a level that the government will not
be able to ignore.
We will be in touch with all locals very soon. Watch for details in an
upcoming edition of Lock Talk.
For campaign information, call Don Ford (ext. 442) or Carol Whitehead
(ext. 356) at
1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
.Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8
Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman, president.
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