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Corrections workers reach tentative contract agreement

TORONTO – Ontario corrections workers have reached a tentative contract agreement with the Ontario government. The bargaining team representing the 6,000 members, including Correctional Officers, Youth Workers and Probation Officers, reached the settlement early on March 1.

Ontario Public Service Employees Union president Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the agreement is a positive one for his members, and the bargaining team has unanimously recommended the members accept it.

“This agreement gives our members a fair wage increase, and addresses some long-standing issues in Correctional Services such as staffing and workload,” Thomas said. “Our members also said it was important to protect their sick leave plan, and we have done that.”

David Kerr, chair of the Corrections bargaining team, says this agreement was a cooperative effort to resolve mutual concerns.

“Our members told us their priorities were improvements on wages and to stop the attack on their sick leave,” Kerr said. “We worked with the government on an incentive structure that will address attendance issues, and there will now be an opportunity to meet with the employer to deal with the conditions in the jails that cause absenteeism.”

Members will begin voting this week on the agreement. Results of the vote are expected by March 7, 2009. Details of the agreement are available at www.opseu.org.

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