OPSEU responds to questions from court reporters facing contracting out

Ministry of the Attorney General’s (MAG) plan to contract out court transcripts shows complete lack of respect for the integrity of the record and the profession of court reporting.

Toronto (26 June 2013) - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) is responding to members concerns about the province's plans to contract out court transcripts.  

According to a statement from OPSEU/NUPGE "the Ministry of the Attorney General’s (MAG) plan to contract out court transcripts shows a complete lack of respect for the integrity of the record and the profession of court reporting."

Increased chance of error

The union points out that separating the taking of the record from the producing of the record could increase the risk of inaccuracies appearing in the transcript. OPSEU/NUPGE "strongly believes the reporter of record should prepare and certify the transcript."

The union argues that:

Ministry court reporters are skilled and qualified professionals with a proven track record of preparing accurate transcripts in a timely manner. Your union has argued for 10 years that you deserve to be treated as full-time employees with a professional wage, reflecting both your in-court functions and production of transcriptions.

We have won legal decisions that have found the production of transcripts is the bargaining unit work of court reporters and is covered under the collective agreement.

Ministry avoiding compliance with legal rulings

However, MAG has used every possible stalling tactic and legal manoeuvre to avoid complying with these legal rulings. On May 15, the ministry announced "a new model for court transcription" which will remove transcript work altogether.

MAG is planning to issue a Request for Proposals (a tender) this summer for a private operator to set up and run an administrative body to control the production of court transcripts. This private administrative body will oversee a registry of authorized court transcriptionists.

OPSEU/NUPGE working to see legal decisions implemented

The union is currently taking the province to court over its refusal to comply with Vice-Chair Dissanayake’s "cease and desist" order. This is an extraordinary step that the union rarely takes. However, MAG’s refusal to comply with Grievance Settlement Board (GSB) decisions is more extreme than most other ministries. An application has been with the Superior Court of Justice asking for the Ministry of the Attorney General to be found in contempt and will be heard March 17, 2014.

The union will also be back at the Grievance Settlement Board in separate hearing dates in October, November and December. 

And they are continuing to campaign against the government’s contracting out of court transcripts with lobbying 
decision makers being a key component of the campaign. 

More information:

Questions and Answers for OPSEU court reporters (pdf)

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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