Northern correctional facilities to hold information rallies about government strike preparations | National Union of Public and General Employees

Northern correctional facilities to hold information rallies about government strike preparations

“The cost of the managers’ strike accommodations is estimated to be over $500,000. If they took that money and invested it in their front-line staff and facilities, it would go a long way in ensuring there weren’t any future labour disputes.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President.

logo for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE)Northern Ontario (06 June 2014) — All nine northern Ontario correctional facilities will hold information rallies to create public awareness about a government plan to prematurely force Correctional Officers into a strike or lockout position by building significant and costly living quarters for managers to use in the event of a labour disruption.

Information rallies to be held on June 9,10 and 11 throughout northern Ontario to highlight continued deterioration of working conditions within provincial jails

Central North Correctional Centre, North Bay Jail, Sudbury Jail, Monteith Correctional Complex, Thunder Bay Jail, Thunder Bay Correctional Centre and Kenora Jail will each sponsor an “Information Rally/Food Drive” on Monday, June 9 in their respective communities. Fort Frances Jail and Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre will hold its events on June 10 due to logistical issues. Maplehurst Complex/Vanier Centre in Milton will also hold an event on June 11.

The purpose of this coordinated effort is to raise public awareness about the obscene waste of tax dollars that the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is embarking on, and to shed light on the continued deterioration of working conditions inside Ontario’s Jails. Each institution will also host a public BBQ, requesting people donate a non-perishable food item in exchange for a free burger or hot dog and beverage. All non-perishable food items collected will be donated to local charities.

Liberal government builds management strike accommodations instead of investing money in the correctional system

The Ministry and various Superintendents have been following a “code of silence” about the construction since it began at 11 different Ontario institutions. Unionized staff members are denied access to these areas. It wasn’t until early May 2014, when news of these construction projects were reported in the media, that the government finally acknowledged it is all for “strike preparation” and refused further comment. None of the construction or its associated costs will benefit the staff or inmates in daily operations.

“We haven’t even served notice to bargain yet,” said OPSEU Corrections Chair Dan Sidsworth. “It would appear that no matter what’s on the table, the Ministry will force a strike or lockout. How can we possibly expect the employer to bargain fairly or in good faith?”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said the Ministry should be spending money on increasing inmate beds and improving working conditions in the facilities instead of spending money preparing for a dispute. “The cost of the managers’ strike accommodations is estimated to be over $500,000,” Thomas said. “If they took that money and invested it in their front-line staff and facilities, it would go a long way in ensuring there weren’t any future labour disputes.”

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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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