Now is the time to fix long-standing problems within the system - Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
Toronto (10 March 2009) - Ontario correctional workers have ratified a new four-year collective agreement negotiated on their behalf by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE). The vote was 84% in favour.
Balloting by the union's correctional services unit, which has nearly 6,000 members across the province, took place March 4-6. The members include correctional officers and youth workers in Ontario facilities as well as probation and parole officers supervising offenders in the community.
The settlement was reached after the province dropped a demand that would have restricted sick time by members to five days a year and imposed financial penalties on all employees exceeding the limit.
“Members made it clear that an attack on their sick time was unacceptable, especially due to the long-standing unaddressed issues of overcrowding, working conditions and exposure to diseases,” says David Kerr, chair of the corrections bargaining team.
“This offer protects members who are ill, and, considering the economy, gives our members a fair wage settlement over the life of the contract.”
Highlights of the deal include a base wage increase of 7.75% over four years, plus special case adjustments for certain classifications. There is also new language to cooperatively address absenteeism (and its root causes) as well as language to deal with workload issues for members supervising offenders in the community.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU president, says now that the new agreement has been ratified he wants to focus on improving working conditions in Ontario’s corrections system.
“For over 20 years successive governments have ignored the deteriorating conditions in our jails and the unmanageable workload in community supervision,” Thomas says. “We have called for a probe in correctional services and we want real commitments from this government to start fixing the problems.”
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