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May 18, 2001
The grand illusion
It was a performance worthy of equal billing with David
It was smoke, mirrors and misdirection on Wed., May 9, as
Utah-based Management and Training Corporation (MTC) made an appearance in
Penetanguishene. The Tory orchestrated "meet and greet" was designed
to woo the local business community with promises of opportunity. The meeting
was short on facts, long on rhetoric and lacking any substance whatsoever.
Even the lettuce on the cheese tray was wilted.
It would appear that great care was taken to ensure that
every Tory supporter in the Simcoe area was invited. Even they had to have been
disappointed, however, with the lack of information being given by MTC marketing
hack, Mike Murphy. Murphy was besieged by those in attendance for even a tidbit
of solid news on business opportunities, but it was clear that Murphy was
producing little more than a smile and a business card.
And there, in the thick of it all, was Simcoe North MPP
Garfield Dunlop. Dunlop, who has been virtually invisible in the town of
Penetanguishene since the butt-whomping he took in January 2000 at a packed
superjail liaison meeting, was all smiles as he followed Murphy around the room
like a lost puppy. While Murphy pontificated in very vague terms about how
wonderful his company is, Dunlop stood by his side bobbing his head and rubbing
his hands together like a cut-rate infomercial actor drooling over the latest
combination food dehydrator/carpet steamer.
Not everyone was taken in by this masterful display of
media hype. Murphy seemed to falter when asked pointed questions from reporters
about safety guarantees, admitting that his company has had its share of
problems. In fact, he seemed uncomfortable talking about anything dealing with
the day-to-day operation of the facility. Not surprising, considering that
Murphy is MTC’s director of marketing.
The biggest lie about MTC’s winning bid (a lie that the
media seems to have swallowed whole) is that the $79 per day is almost half of
the $140 per day cost to run a provincial facility. The fact that the Tories
were able to spin these figures out without flinching should leave any
intelligent person suspicious. And rightly so.
The last Ministry calculation for the average
inmate per-diem cost in Ontario was $125 per day. That cost includes jails that
are over 150 years old, and jails that are scheduled to be closed. Where did the
figure of $140 come from? No one knows.
The other little fact that the Ministry conveniently left
out of its press release is that MTC is only paying for 55 per cent of its food,
none of its computers, none of its telephones and none of its inmate
transportation costs. Now, compare MTC’s $79 per day against the cost to keep
an inmate in the Toronto West Detention Centre. According to the Ministry, the
cost to keep an inmate in this 24-year-old facility (which pays for everything)
is $85 per day. So much for the "efficiency" of the private sector.
And while MTC is claiming that they will pay its employees
the same wages as the public sector, no mention was made of benefits, working
conditions or pensions. Try buying a private drug, dental and hospital plan and
see what that does to your salary.
Dunlop’s performance over the past two weeks has been
nothing short of reprehensible. To hide from his constituents in Penetanguishene
for over 17 months, then appear as the champion of prosperity is pure cowardice.
And to add insult to injury, Dunlop was even quoted in the Midland Free Press
saying, "There will be a lot of egg on (private jail opponents’) faces
when it’s done."
It is better to have egg on your face than blood on your
hands, Garfield. And spilled blood defines the record of private jail companies.
Period. The question is: Will you still be around when the chickens (and their
eggs) come home to roost?
Grievance win sets new rules for overtime
A major win last week at the Grievance Settlement Board (GSB)
will define how certain overtime disputes are settled in the workplace. The
grievance originated from Local 233 (Guelph Correctional Centre).
The award provides that, depending on individual
circumstances and the local method (protocol) of overtime distribution, the
employer may be forced to pay members for missed overtime shifts rather than
merely give members an alternate opportunity to work overtime, e.g. the next
"After a three-year battle, we are extremely pleased
with the outcome," said Paul Hughes, president of Local 233. "Our
method of overtime distribution lent itself well to getting this award. We
weren’t looking to have numerous members paid for overtime that they didn’t
work. Rather, we are hoping that this award will ensure that management
distributes overtime fairly and equitably, given our local protocol and the
obligations under the Collective Agreement."
Guelph’s method of overtime distribution gives priority
to employees with the least accumulated overtime hours at the moment of hiring
for any particular shift that the employee has indicated that they are available
Members who allege an overtime violation are reminded to
keep records and documentation of the violation if they want a grievance to
succeed. A "who, what, where, when and why" history will be crucial to
Copies of the award are in the mail to locals. If anyone
would like the details on Guelph’s local overtime protocol, contact Paul
Hughes by fax via the OPSEU Guelph Regional office. The fax number is (519)
Videos, buttons on the way
Additional copies of OPSEU’s Sabotage video and
report are on their way to local leaders. As well, the "Enough is
Enough" buttons are included in the package.
Packages should arrive by next week.
For campaign information, call Don Ford (ext. 442) or
Pam Doig (ext. 687) at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) firstname.lastname@example.org
Ontario Public Service Employees Unionwww.opseu.org
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8
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