“We work in volatile and violent workplaces. We find that giving back to the community is an effective means to cope with the daily stress we face. This outreach keeps us focused on the reason we do what we do every day.” — Chris Jackel, OPSEU's correctional bargaining chair
Toronto (10 Jan. 2018) — Correctional and youth justice workers from across Ontario gave back to their communities in a special way on January 8. From their various work locations, these members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) engaged in a variety of community-specific charity fundraisers in what they are calling a “Corrections cares about community safety” event.
Events to provide forum to highlight correctional workers' commitment to community
The day was proposed by OPSEU’s Correctional bargaining team, which is currently engaged in collective bargaining with the Ontario government. Bargaining team chair Chris Jackel said the team wanted to underscore its commitment to the community.
“We work in volatile and violent workplaces,” said Jackel. “We find that giving back to the community is an effective means to cope with the daily stress we face. This outreach keeps us focused on the reason we do what we do every day.”
Many local MPPs, mayors and other dignitaries attended the events in their respective communities. Correctional staff will also take the opportunity to raise awareness of the crisis that currently grips Ontario’s correctional system.
“Our workplaces have become unsafe, and significant investment by the government is desperately needed to ensure the safety of staff, offenders and our communities,” noted Jackel.
Ontario government needs to provide proper tools and resources in correctional facilities
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU/NUPGE, applauded correctional workers’ efforts to reach out to the communities that they serve and protect.
“I’m extremely proud of the challenging work our members do, day-in, day-out, to help keep our communities safe,” he said. “Their vital contributions to frontline public security are vastly underestimated. The events they’ve planned for January 8 demonstrate yet again their unshakable commitment to the well-being of their local communities."
“But to carry out their task of safety and security effectively, they require the proper tools and resources — and right now, they simply don’t have them,” Thomas continued. “That’s why we’re asking Ontarians to contact Premier Wynne and tell her to adequately fund our correctional system – in order to ensure Ontario families remain safe.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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