January 26 2001
From bad to worse
Ministry continues to batter Penetang council
Penetanguishene town councillors are not sure how much more bad news they can
Still reeling over the content of the Request for Proposals (RFP),
councillors have now found out that they’ve been lied to about the on-site
Having an on-site government monitor at the superjail at all times was the
Ministry’s main weapon to combat any safety and operational concerns.
Privatization front man Brian Low told Penetang officials last week that the
"24 hours a day, 7 days a week" monitoring the Ministry promised doesn’t
quite mean that.
Low admitted that Ministry staff would NOT be at the facility at all times.
Instead, they would be on call. Predictably, this did not sit well with the town
Randy Robbins, Deputy Mayor of Penetanguishene, was incredulous.
"You mean to tell me," Robbins said to Low, "that a company,
who could be just one incident away from getting fined, is supposed to call the
Ministry and tattle on themselves if there is an incident? You’ve got to be
At the working committee of council on Jan. 23, councillors were also rocked
by a presentation from Paula King, head of the Simcoe County inmate advocacy
group, the Elizabeth Fry Society. King explained in no uncertain terms what the
town will face when 4,000 inmates are released yearly from the facility.
"These inmates will be knocking on your door," King said.
"They’ll be looking for money, they’ll be looking for clothes, and they’ll
be looking for food. They will also be looking for shelter or long term housing.
As a town, you will be obliged to somehow provide these services."
King went on to say that her group would try to assist the town, if possible.
"We will do everything we can with the limited resources we have," she
said. "However, not all released offenders will try to obtain money
legally. You had better be prepared that some of these people are going to cause
trouble in your town."
Councillors were left in stunned silence after King’s presentation, as they
comprehended the full impact of the Ministry’s broken promise of a proper
"This is absolutely unbelievable," one councillor said. "What
the hell did we get ourselves into?"
By meeting’s end, council agreed that it was time to fight. A motion was
passed to demand a meeting with the Correctional Services minister before Feb.
15 to get key issues resolved. The entire council plans to travel to Queen’s
Park for the showdown.
In the meantime, they are waiting to see what other little surprises the
Ministry has in store for them. It has become painfully clear that the
government’s word means nothing, and written promises are also as valueless.
And with the Ministry not having an official Minister in place, the council isn’t
even sure if anyone will act on their concerns.
Maybe they could go to the Premier Mike Harris himself. That is, if he’s
not too busy shining up his clubs in preparation for the Callandar golfing
Relocation grievance settled
OPSEU scores another big victory
A favorable ruling at the Grievance Settlement Board (GSB) has brought an end
to a policy grievance filed by OPSEU over two and a half years ago.
The union grieved that officers at Haileybury Jail, L’Orignal Jail and the
Cobourg Jail should be entitled to redeployment after the closure of those
institutions in July 1998. OPSEU filed the grievance under Appendix 13,
"Relocation of an Operation Beyond a 40 km Radius."
GSB Vice Chair Deborah Leighton first ruled on this grievance last year. At
that time, Leighton ruled that Appendix 13 applied to the closures, and left the
issue of implementation to the parties. When the OPSEU Corrections Ministry
Employee Relations Committee (MERC) met with the employer last July to implement
the decision, the Ministry refused to come to an agreement. OPSEU then
re-applied to return to the GSB.
At the hearings, the Ministry argued that no additional positions were
created at the nearby institutions that received inmates from the closing
facilities. OPSEU argued that the number of actual full-time positions within
the normal complement increased, therefore the officers from the closing jails
should be entitled to those positions. Ministry officials countered that the
filling of empty full-time slots was not due to the closures, but did not submit
any evidence to back up their claim.
Accordingly, Vice Chair Leighton has now ruled that:
- L’Orignal correctional officers are entitled to nine (9) full-time
positions at Ottawa-Carleton D.C.
- Haileybury correctional officers are entitled to three (3) positions at
Monteith C.C and two (2) positions at North Bay Jail.
- Cobourg correctional officers are entitled to two (2) positions at
Peterborough Jail, one (1) position at Lindsay Jail and seven (7) positions
at Quinte D.C.
It should be noted that the union only put forward the correctional officer
positions in order to expedite the hearings, as these were the simplest to
calculate. Other staff issues will be dealt with as they arise.
Barry Scanlon, MERC chair, is very pleased with the decision.
"The Ministry will likely face some administrative problems in
implementing this award," Scanlon said, "but now that we have the
numbers, we hope to get our members everything they were entitled to in the
Watch here for more information.
Inmates riot at Australian private jail
More than 120 inmates armed with bricks and iron bars rioted last week at an
immigration detention center run by Australasian Correctional Management, a
division of Wackenhut.
The Port Hedlund facility has been the scene of a great deal of unrest lately
due to claims of inmate abuse and overcrowding. New claims are emerging that
inmates are also being drugged in the facility.
Now there’s a cost saving measure! Why go to the expense of high walls,
razor wire and electronic security when you can just knock out your inmates with
a few pills or an injection or two?
Way to go Wackenhut! A truly remarkable innovation in lowering per diem
costs. Just be careful what drugs you use. Your costs for munchies could
The black push pins on the big resolution wall map got a little thicker this
week with 3 more municipalities added to the list. Opposing privatized
corrections are the Town of Newmarket, the Municipality of St. Charles (east of
North Bay) and Town of Caledon (northwest of Toronto).
Recognizing his tireless efforts, we salute Len Mason of Local 737 (Thunder
For campaign information, call Don Ford (ext. 442) or Carol Whitehead
(ext. 356) at
1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888. e-mail: email@example.com
.Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8
Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman, president.
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