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LockTalk 10: Employer seeks concessions

Your bargaining team’s strategy this round is not to table any monetary issues during the initial proposals. Monetary proposals will be tabled after non-monetary issues are addressed.

Click here to download LockTalk, Issue 10

Accordingly, when the team met with the employer on December 5, we exchanged opening non-monetary proposals. Corrections bargaining team chair Chris Jackel opened the meeting by reading an opening statement.

Your bargaining team presented non-monetary issues as identified through the local demand set process, MERC committees, grievance officers, and pension and benefits specialists. The issues include:

  • general language improvements
  • FXT improvements
  • overtime distribution
  • grievance process and disclosure
  • improved ease of access to benefits/entitlements
  • workload
  • staffing

Read our comprehensive list of demands here.

The team was disappointed by the employer’s opening proposal, which indicated they were not serious about addressing the issues put forward by members of the Correctional bargaining unit. We believe our opening non-monetary proposal is reasonable and necessary. However, the employer seems to have another vision in mind.

The employer made an opening statement and then tabled a proposal filled with concessions clearly not in line with their oft-repeated promises of “transforming corrections.” This proposal is a clear indication to all of us that the government has no interest in fixing the crisis in corrections.

The employer also provided written notice on the following five items:

Attendance Support and Management Program

The employer has advised OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas in writing of their intention to “explore the possibility of implementation of a new or revised attendance program to replace or revise the current program.”

Historically, attendance support programs have never been bargained. These programs are strictly ministry policy. OPSEU, the MERC, and your bargaining team will continue to monitor and update you on this proposal.

Third-party administration of the short-term sickness leave plan in the Correctional bargaining unit

The employer has similarly advised President Thomas in writing of their intention to “explore third-party administration of the short-term sickness plan in the Correctional bargaining unit, with the possibility of implementation during the term of the collective agreement.” In other words, it appears the employer intends to contract out administration of our short-term sick plan (sick days) to an independent, third-party provider.

Administrative compensating leave (ACL)

The employer has advised the bargaining team in writing that “any accumulated ACL that is not used by March 31, 2018, will be paid at the rate it was earned.” In other words, the employer intends to discontinue ACL upon the expiry of the current collective agreement.

Compensating time off

The employer has advised the bargaining team in writing that “upon date of ratification of the Correctional bargaining unit collective agreement, and until further notice, the employer will no longer be agreeing to extend the March 31, 2017, date for payout of any substitute days which were accumulated under the overtime provision of the collective agreement. Further, the employer will no longer be agreeing to allow employees who work on Schedule 3.7 or on schedule 4.7 to receive compensating leave in lieu of pay for overtime worked.”

This means all members in these schedules will no longer have the ability to bank overtime.

Review of certain positions in correctional facilities

The employer has advised the bargaining team in writing that “during the term of the collective agreement, MCSCS will review a number of positions in correctional facilities that are usually staffed with correctional officers…. This may result in the reclassification of some positions.”

We have no information on how this may impact the membership or what areas may be reviewed.

It is clear that the employer has not changed their concession-era mentality. We are not shocked with the employer’s attempt to disrespect, ignore, and diminish the negative conditions in our workplaces. The employer is not prepared to invest in the front lines to fix the crisis in corrections.

However, we remain unwavering in our fight to transform corrections. We will let the employer know that real transformation begins with meaningful and productive negotiations and ends with a solid collective agreement.

This is our time – we must fix it.

In solidarity,
Your Corrections bargaining team