TORONTO – The union representing 6,000 provincial correctional workers has called for a “no board” report to set a legal strike or lockout deadline in stalled contract talks with the Wynne government.
“There is a crisis in corrections,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “Our jails are overcrowded, understaffed and increasingly violent. Our probation and parole officers have the highest caseloads in the country. But instead of moving quickly to hire more staff, reduce overcrowding, and improve mental health care for offenders, this government is cutting $6,000 cheques to managers.
“This is a clear provocation that will only destabilize an already tense situation,” he said. “The government is playing a dangerous game with no regard for the safety of the people involved.”
The union asked the Ministry of Labour for a “no board” report today, signalling the failure of conciliation just hours after a meeting with government representatives. The meeting was the first since 67 per cent of correctional workers voted last week to reject an earlier tentative agreement.
Under provincial law, a legal strike or lockout deadline could come as soon as early January.
“Last night I met with the 100 top leaders in our Corrections Division,” OPSEU’s Thomas said. “OPSEU members in correctional services are tired of being bullied by an arrogant employer, and they are ready to push back.”
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Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Related: Crisis In Corrections Index Page