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Corrections: Solid for the future

Corrections Bargaining unit: Solid for the future
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Click here for a pdf of Corrections: Solid for the Future.

Corrections Telephone Town Hall

Want to know more about the sad CSN raid? Get the facts here.

Join your elected OPSEU and Corrrections leaders for an interactive telephone town hall on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Choose the session that works best for you: 11:00 a.m. or 7:30 p.m.

What are the consequences of the CSN raid on our bargaining? On our pension? On our dues and grievances?

  • Hear from legal and pension experts.
  • Join us by phone or online.

Click here to find out how to join the call.

CSN’s con job: Don’t be deceived!

Have you been asked to sign an “OACE” card? Something called “la Confédération des syndicats nationaux” (CSN) really, really wants you to. And they’re spouting a pack of lies to get you to.

They think you’re naïve. Don’t be. Your pay and pension are at stake. Separate CSN’s myths from OPSEU’s facts.

1. Myth: CSN can be certified as our new union in “weeks or months” after a fall vote.

Fact:

Want to switch unions? The entire OPS has to change with you.

That’s the law. Sure, CSN says they’ll take it to court. But that will take many years – with no guarantee of success. Meanwhile, our contract will be frozen. We’ll still be able to file grievances, but our bargaining team won’t be able to negotiate a new contract with raises and improvements to our benefits. What’s more, our MERC teams won’t be able to negotiate improvements between contracts.

No raises. No improvements. For years. Still thinking about CSN?

2. Myth: The PSPP is better than our OPTrust pension plan.

Fact:

The PSPP pays less, when you need it the most, after age 65 – for example, $1,000 less each year for Correctional Officers, Youth Services Officers and Nurses; $800 less for an Office Admin 8.

You’ll get dinged if you’re married! It docks pension to pay for survivor benefits. OPTrust fully subsidizes survivor benefits.

The PSPP is so underfunded, the government had to bail it out with “special payments”.

In 2018-2019, members were hit with a 1% increase in rates – and yet they’re STILL not fully funded. OPTrust is 100% funded.

A move to the PSPP means losing control of our pension. With OPTrust, OPSEU has equal control with the employer over our pension.

CSN is talking BS when it claims members can negotiate pension issues with the PSPP but not with OPTrust. The employer can make NO changes to OPTrust without our consent. With the PSPP, the government could decide tomorrow to change our benefits, contribution rates, cost of living raises – even the defined-benefit type!

Ready to gamble your pension on a union that says the PSPP is “better”?

3. Myth: You’ll pay less in dues because CSN doesn’t levy dues on overtime.

Fact:

OPSEU’s dues rate is 1.375% – one of the lowest in North America. Federal correction officers pay 1.95% with UCCO-CSN – 42% more! You’d have to work a hell of a lot of overtime just to break even. How much?

  • Correctional Officers 2 and Youth Services Officers: $33,000 in overtime.
  • Probation Officers 2: $35,000 in overtime.
  • Nurse 3 General: $40,000 in overtime.

Earn any less OT than that, and you’re paying lower dues with OPSEU.

Do you enjoy paying high union dues? Then you’re in CSN country!

4. Myth: CSN is a national union with offices across Canada.

Fact:

CSN is a provincial union in Quebec! Just four offices are outside Quebec for UCCO business only.

OPSEU has 20 staffed regional offices and 27 membership centres with a staff representative assigned to each corrections local.

Got a problem at work? Maybe someone can help you from Montreal.

5. Myth: CSN claims they can take over current grievances and give us the same carriage rights we enjoy with OPSEU.

Fact:

CSN has no member carriage rights!

They can take our grievances to arbitration – or not – after a so-called “executive review”. At OPSEU, member carriage rights are right in the constitution!

OPSEU has no obligation to spend time and money transferring grievance files to other unions. If we leave OPSEU, our current grievances could be closed off.

OPSEU spends $2.25 million yearly just on corrections arbitration and legal costs. Three grievance officers are dedicated to handling corrections arbitrations alone.

Do you honestly believe CSN, sitting over in Quebec, will spend that kind of money on Ontario grievance arbitrations?

6. Myth: CSN can represent us better.

Fact:

The “OACE” is nothing but an empty storefront with a website, a self-declared “executive” and a heaping helping of extravagant promises from a Quebec union with zero experience dealing with the Ontario government.

OPSEU has spent 110 years protecting Ontarians, half of that representing correctional workers. Most recently, OPSEU got us a half-billion-dollar new investment for the Crisis in Corrections.

Doug Ford knows and respects Smokey Thomas. Why would Doug Ford give the time of day to some out-of-province union he’s never even heard of?

7. Myth: CSN promises we’ll be more “autonomous” if we join them.

Fact:

We’ve got just as much autonomy in OPSEU as we would in CSN. We’ve got a standalone bargaining unit with our own bylaws, demands, negotiations and reps.

With CSN, we’d be subject to CSN’s constitution. Most of our dues would go straight to CSN.

And we’d have a lot less say on how our dues money is spent. Why? Because that’s decided at CSN conventions and federation meetings. Our Corrections Bargaining Unit would be a much smaller percentage of the CSN membership than we are in OPSEU – we’d lose our clout.

CSN = same autonomy, less power. What a sweet deal – for CSN!

We totally get why CSN is desperate for more members. In 2017, more than 20,000 health care workers left CSN for other unions, leaving a $10-million hole in CSN’s budget. Meanwhile, OPSEU keeps getting bigger and more powerful and more respected.

Think signing a CSN card is a great idea? Think again. Very carefully. Because your family’s security relies on proven fact – not the crock CSN is peddling.

OPSEU delivers the goods

OPSEU has always put the Crisis in Corrections front and centre. We relentlessly lobbied the government to fix it – and our years of hard work on behalf of corrections workers have paid off.

In July, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said it would spend half a billion dollars to fix the Crisis in Corrections. It means 500 new full-time positions, new infrastructure in Thunder Bay and Kenora, and retrofitting to ease overcrowding and support programming. Your OPSEU MERC team is working with the employer right now to fill these positions.

That’s the OPSEU advantage – the benefit of belonging to a union willing and able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaigning and lobbying for corrections members.

But it’s not just about spending money. It’s OPSEU’s century-long experience negotiating with the Ontario government. It’s years of lobbying and pressuring Ontario politicians of all stripes. It’s the respected relationship it has with Ontario media.

Think you’d get results like this from a Quebec union? Think again.

Battling COVID-19: OPSEU vs. CSN

The pandemic galvanized OPSEU into action.

The President’s Office, along with your MERC and PJOHSC/DHS teams, got on the phone with Solicitor General Sylvia Jones to nip COVID-19 in the bud. It was just the start of solid, continuous action that reduced cases. Compare what we did with what CSN’s affiliate UCCO did for federal correctional officers.

OPSEU made nine critical demands for COVID safety, and the ministry signed on to every one. We got active COVID screening at the front door. We got surgical masks, and enhanced PPE for workers in more critical areas. We got buy-in for pandemic pay. We got intake units for all new inmate admissions. We persuaded the government to reduce the inmate population by 28 per cent.

CSN’s affiliate UCCO didn’t get a penny in pandemic pay out of the feds. They couldn’t get their employer to supply proper PPE, so they bought cloth masks and hand sanitizer for their members – from their members’ money. According to some reports, the feds only released about 700 inmates – a third of the number Ontario released.

The result? 350 inmates and 100 federal COs got COVID-19 – far more than Ontario, even as a percentage.

Who will you trust with your future?

OPSEU has proven its ability to make the employer protect and reward Ontario’s correctional staff, while CSN got little action from their federal employer. Imagine thinking the Ontario government will listen to CSN over OPSEU!

CSN splatters webpages with lots of angry words and outright lies – but words are cheap. Your working life isn’t. Follow the action. Follow the results. They’ll lead you right to OPSEU.