To all Local Institutional Services Presidents in MCSCS;
On this day the MCSCS MERC members traveled to the Provincial Legislature and met with the new Minister of MCSCS, and his staff. The Minister was briefed by us regarding current issues and what our position as a Division is before we head into the startup of a new round of bargaining.
We conveyed our desire to work with his office. We were straight forward with him stating we found this difficult given the fact that the Ministry was preparing each worksite to accommodate managers during lock-out. We stated both parties are required by Legislation (Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act) to provide “Essential Services” for the CARE, CUSTODY, & CONTROL, of inmates during a labour dispute.
We emphasized that all members take public safety seriously and fully intend to provide services as mandated. We conveyed this display of bad faith towards upcoming bargaining has left members angry and disappointed in the employer.
Members have been providing services above and beyond normal levels for an extended period of time, despite staff shortages, growing levels of violence in our workplaces, lack of access to training, rampant overtime, and a lack of direction from the Ministry regarding a variety of policies and procedures.
The Ministers response was to repeat the recent press release. The Ministry must prepare for a strike.
Given the present working conditions in the Institutional Services; a lack of an informed response by the new Minister, and some locals having requested a response from the Division; The MCSCS MERC is therefore requesting Locals support each other in an effort to assist the upcoming round of bargaining by doing two things at this time:
- Directing all members to step down from acting positions outside of the bargaining unit and; and return to bargaining unit positions.
- Directing all bargaining unit trainers to only train bargaining unit members in the performance of their duties. Members are being asked not to train operational managers in such things as community escorts, use of force, etc. which would assist management in carrying out bargaining unit work, our duties during a lockout.
By continuing to do training for managers we are ignoring the employer’s plan to lock us out and continue to do business without consideration to our issues.
The Division will send a clear message to the Minister that the present course of action needs to be redirected towards the bargaining table, and not on a path of locking out members for an extended period of time.
Again we request all Locals support these efforts if not already doing so as a local.
OPSEU / Ministry Employee Relations Committee, Chair
Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services