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LockTalk 7: Bargaining hits pause

Negotiations suspended

For the second straight round of bargaining, negotiations between your correctional bargaining team and the employer have been stood down, as the “writ has dropped”. In other words, the government has dissolved the legislature and called an election.

To be clear, the bargaining team has not chosen to suspend bargaining. Rather, the employer has chosen to freeze talks until there is a government with a new mandate.

As a result, bargaining team members are returning to their home institutions and offices until bargaining resumes, likely in the fall, when a new government is in place.  Until bargaining resumes, the correctional bargaining team’s email will not be monitored.

Employer not willing to move

Bargaining thus far has been slow and frustrating. The employer has demonstrated little movement from their opening proposals, which contain concessions and limitations on members’ rights and entitlements. Despite the employer’s unwillingness to move, the team has continued to pursue the demands you, the members, set forth during the demand-set process.

In the weeks preceding the election, the team prepared and submitted its monetary demands to the employer and received the employer’s own monetary proposals.  Our demands and their proposals couldn’t be further apart. The employer’s proposals include attacks and concessions on your sick time, compensating time off, fixed-term scheduling, ability to use accumulated statutory leave, benefits and more.

Ontario goes to the polls

Meanwhile, together with the people of Ontario, members of the Corrections Division are faced with a very important decision: Which party will we elect to form the next government? Doug Ford and the PC Party are responsible for Bill 124, the legislation that limits any wage increase, whether bargained or arbitrated, to one per cent per year. Despite significant pressures, both in the courts and on the street, from multiple unions including, OPSEU/SEFPO, the Ontario Nurses’ Association and CUPE, the Ford government refuses to repeal this unconstitutional bill.

Both the Liberals and the NDP have stated that, if elected, they would repeal Bill 124. Your bargaining team strongly encourages all members to engage with their local candidates to determine their position on Bill 124 – and to remember this at the ballot box.

What happens next?

Regardless of who wins the election, the parties will resume bargaining in the fall.  Should this employer continue to stonewall and make unreasonable demands of our division, your team is prepared to take our demands to an arbitrator and seek a decision that is fair and recognizes the hard work we do for the people of Ontario.

In solidarity,
Your Correctional Bargaining Team