Corrections workers vote for strike; remainder of public service accept agreement
Publication DateFriday, January 30, 2009 (All day)
TORONTO – Nearly 5,500 Corrections workers who work in Ontario’s correctional facilities and supervise offenders in the community have voted 89 per cent in favour of strike action.
At issue is a government plan that would penalize correctional officers and youth workers for taking more than five sick days a year. Dave Kerr, chair of the Corrections bargaining team, says he is pleased that his members have supported the team, and is looking forward to returning to the bargaining table.
“This strong rejection should show the government that ALL of our members are not interested in an offer that punishes correctional officers and youth workers, even those not affected by it,” Kerr said. “Probation and probation and parole officers, along with bailiffs and non-uniform members in the institutions and in the community have all rejected this offer. We know we can work with the government to come to an acceptable agreement that addresses long-standing issues in Corrections.”
The remaining 35,000 OPS members who work directly for the Ontario government have ratified their tentative agreement. That agreement contains a wage increase of 7.75 per cent over four years, along with improvements to benefits, job security and gains for contract workers.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, says he is pleased that part of the OPS has ratified, and will fully back the Corrections Unit as they return to bargaining.
“The Province showed a great deal of cooperation in getting the tentative agreements for all of our members outside of Corrections,” Thomas said. “Now they need to show the same resolve with our Corrections members.”