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OPS Table Talk 2016 Issue 50 – The arbitrator responds to the team

In Table Talk 49, your correctional bargaining team informed you that the employer had written to confirm their verbal position on three points:

  1. They confirmed that the special wage adjustment – two per cent or three per cent – was in addition to the already awarded 1.4 per cent general wage increase.
  1. They limited the special wage adjustment to just some members of the Correctional Bargaining Unit. As such, only correctional officers and youth services officers are entitled to the three per cent increase. Further, only probation and probation/parole officers and are entitled to the two per cent increase.
  1. They specified that the wage grid freeze was retroactive to January 1, 2016. As such, they required employees who had progressed on the wage grid since January 1 to pay back the extra income received. The employer proposed a repayment plan, which the bargaining team categorically rejected.

Subsequently, your bargaining team referred items 2 and 3 back to the arbitrator for clarification. The arbitrator has now given us his decision.

Regarding which classifications would be entitled to the special wage adjustment, the arbitrator stated:

"Given the referral, given the submissions on the merits, and given the fact that this is a multi-classification bargaining unit, the arbitrator proceeded on the basis that the CO/YSO positions and the PPO/PO positions were in the nature of benchmarks, such that all of the classifications within the bargaining unit would receive either the three per cent special adjustment for correctional staff or the two per cent special adjustment for the probation staff, effective January 1, 2017."

This means that all members of the Correctional Bargaining Unit whose home worksite is located within an institution or facility will receive the three per cent special wage adjustment in addition to the 1.4 per cent general wage increase, effective January 1, 2017. We believe this is a major win by your bargaining team, as all members are being recognized for the integral role they play in their work with offenders.

Unfortunately, there was no change in the grid freeze interpretation. The arbitrator confirmed that it applied to all members of the Correctional Bargaining Unit. As such, the arbitrator ordered that all grid progression earnings made between January 9 and May 26, 2016, be recovered.

The employer has advised the union that they will recover the grid progression earnings at the same rate that employees have been receiving them. For example, if an employee has been receiving $20 extra per pay since January 1, $20 will now be taken off each pay.

Of course, the $20 repayment is in addition to falling back to the previous pay level. This means the employee will see a $40 reduction in their pay until the grid progression earnings have been recovered.

In solidarity,

Your Correctional Bargaining Team

Download Table Talk 50

Related: Crisis In Corrections Index Page