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Jan 14, 2000

Penetanguishene comes out swinging

The Jan. 12 meeting of Penetanguishene Town Council passed a resolution that fiercely opposes a private jail in their community.

The strongly-worded motion urges the Minister to re-confirm the Ministry’s original commitment that the facility would be publicly-run. It also asks the government to confirm its commitment to the Site Plan, which was agreed to after the community was told the facility would be public.

Penetanguishene is sending its resolution to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario for circulation province-wide. A special copy is being sent to David Levac, Liberal Corrections critic and MPP for Brantford, in the hope he will provide better representation than their own MPP, Tory Garfield Dunlop.

What wasn’t included in the resolution was the threat of cutting off water and sewage to the new site in order to grab the attention of the government. However, it hasn’t been ruled out. The council opted to keep that one for reconsideration when (and if) the Minister comes to speak to them.

Council presentations ready to go

Early next week, local presidents or highest-ranking local officers should be receiving the long-awaited lobby packages to help members make presentations to municipal/town/city councils in their area. The package contains speakers’ notes as well as other useful information about the privatization of correctional services.

Here’s what you need to do: contact your local councils (look in the blue pages for phone numbers). Tell them you want to make a deputation. They will book a time. When the time comes, show up and say your piece.

If members of your local speak to even one council, that’s good. If you speak to several councils in your area, that’s even better.

If and when each council passes a motion against privatization, be sure to fax a copy to Don Ford at (416) 443-1762.

"Near North" getting set for closure?

The city of North Bay has expressed heavy interest in becoming the newest ‘super jail community.’ City Hall says North Bay is a "willing host" and hopes the new superjail will be approved in the upcoming budget year. A superjail in this area will likely mean the closure of institutions in Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, North Bay, and the Monteith Complex in Timmins.

"If the Penetanguishene privatization goes through, we can anticipate private-sector involvement in the construction of this jail," says Barry Scanlon, chair of the OPSEU Ministry Employee Relations Committee for the Corrections Division. "The company will own it. When they built the Youngstown facility in Ohio, it took 11 months to build a 1,700-bed facility, start to finish."

Acting managers stepping down

"Why did the MERC team ask us to do this?"

In December, your OPSEU Ministry Employee Relations Committee called on all local presidents to ask members in acting management positions to step down. Many locals have complied, but not all.

So, why did the MERC ask? Because we are trying to save your jobs, and your way of life.

Currently, the Ministry is pushing for re-negotiation of shift schedules. Their goal is to reduce staffing levels by extending inmate lock-down times and forcing members to take vacation in non-peak months.

The Ministry’s rationale? We cost too much. They say that schedules are inefficient and backfill costs are soaring.

We know one of the reasons why. When members are in acting management positions, the cost of their wages remains in the bargaining unit budget. So does the cost to backfill the position, either through the use of unclassified hours or overtime. The employer’s refusal to permanently fill vacant management positions drives up bargaining unit costs, and then they use that excuse to reduce positions and time off!

The job you save may be your own!

We would like to thank all those members who complied with the request to step down. For those who haven’t, the MERC is asking once more that you step down from your positions. The job you save may be your own.

Currently, your MERC team is contacting members in acting positions whose names have been supplied to us by the locals. We appreciate your co-operation. For those acting managers who have already stepped down, thank you on behalf of all Ontario correctional workers.

For campaign information, call Don Ford at 1-800-268-7376 ext. 356 or (416) 443-8888 ext. 356. E-mail address is

Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road
Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8

Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman, President.

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