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Union’s opening statement

Union’s opening statement

We the North
We the North
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Introduction

In the 2012 round of collective bargaining, the Government proposed a stand-alone collective agreement for Corrections.

This division fought to make the stand-alone CA a reality, while, the government allowed corrections to spiral further into crisis.

On February 15th, 2012, the Drummond Report was released.  It states and I quote “Ontario runs one of the lowest-cost Provincial governments in Canada relative to its GDP.”

The Justice Sector was reported to be only 4% of all spending.  This is the lowest spending percentage of all sectors.

The Drummond report warned the Government and I quote “to not rely unduly on hiring freezes and attrition to reduce the size of the civil service.”  The government ignored this warning, causing extreme hardship for the Corrections division. This led to unprecedented unrest and stress to staff members in corrections.

This led to an increased rate of lockdowns, higher rates of segregation use, higher rates of violence and assaults against staff. 

In the community, we see the highest rates of recidivism in Canada. Probation and Parole staff struggle with the highest workloads in the Nation. Excessive workloads have resulted in unsafe communities across the province.

On June 10th, 2017, members from the Corrections Bargaining Unit were presented with an extension agreement offer.  This agreement included, among other things, a general wage increase of 7.5% over 4 years.

When the cost of living and the loss of Administrative Compensating Leave (ACL) credits were factored into these terms, this was nothing more than yet another ‘net-zero’ offer.

This offer was an absolute insult to the correctional bargaining unit membership.  Our response to this disrespect was made clear on June 22nd, 2017 with our 94.7% rejection.

As we enter into a new era of negotiating the Correction’s Stand-Alone Collective Agreement, a fundamental shift in bargaining must occur. The Government MUST make a substantial investment in Corrections. Not just new policy, legislation, facilities and offices.

It's time to invest in us!

This investment will allow you to recruit, train and retain a dedicated and first-class workforce that will deliver on the government mandate to provide excellent public service.

The Union proposes to renew many provisions in our historic stand-alone collective agreement and will be proposing a number of necessary modifications.  The Union reserves the right to table additional language during negotiations.

Today we are tabling a series of non-monetary proposals. We will be tabling monetary proposals in the near future.

In this round of bargaining, we have a particular focus on seeking improvements for, but not limited to:

  • Significant Wage increases to catch up to comparators
  • Serious improvements in Pensions and Benefits
  • Workload and staffing level adjustments
  • Crucial Improvement in contract language
  • Improvements for Fixed Term Employees
  • All Offender transportation brought into Corrections

These key issues must be addressed in this round of negotiations.  The Correctional Bargaining Team knows, addressing all of our proposals, will greatly assist the Government in resolving the chronic and systemic problems which have been plaguing MCSCS and MCYS for quite some time.

We have endured austerity , wage grid freezes and  net-zeroes.  As the Drummond report foreshadowed, and, Burkett’s 2016 arbitrated award demonstrates, we must now enter a “wage catch up period”.

We would also like to remind the Employer that, as reported in Toronto Metro News December 16, 2015 and in the Toronto Star November 30, 2016 the Employer gave its Managers an average pay increase of about $14,705/each.  This was at a time of announced austerity and net-zeros the rationale being for recruitment, retention, and replacement.  We couldn’t agree more.  The Correctional Bargaining Unit is long overdue of recruitment, retention, and replacement wage incentives.

As has been extensively documented, there is a ‘Crisis in Corrections.  Our working conditions can only be described as dangerously dysfunctional.  The Union has repeatedly raised concerns about the need for increased staffing levels for all Correctional Professionals, in Institutions, Facilities and offices.

PTSD, occupational stress disorders and physical injuries continue to plague correctional employees, without any prevention or support, for the staff.

As evidenced by a recent Global National Investigation Report into Probation & Parole Services, public safety is at risk given that many conditions of Probation, Parole and Conditional Sentences are not being adequately monitored in our communities. Probation & Parole generates roughly 5000 warrants per year and no one is looking for these absconding offenders. There is simply no longer any ‘community’ in ‘community corrections.’

This is the time to fix this broken system!

To this end, the Correctional Bargaining Team is open to candid, respectful and meaningful dialogue on all matters at the table.We are committed to problem-solving and finding solutions. 

The Correctional Bargaining Team believes substantial improvements to wages, pensions, benefits, and contract language is critical.

With a corrections stand-alone collective agreement on the horizon, members of this bargaining unit fully expect the Employer will come to the table with a fresh approach in negotiating a substantial “catch up” contract.  Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past.

The Employer’s ‘vision statement’ says “we value our staff as our most important resource”.  The Correction’s Ministry affirmed it is “transforming corrections”, which must begin with an improved collective agreement, that addresses the complex needs of this Division.

The dedicated and professional members of the Correctional Bargaining Unit have brought this Division into a new era; it is now the Government’s responsibility to enact these needed remedies to set the stage for success.

This Is Our Time.