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OPSEU is calling CSN’s raiding tour of Ontario jails dangerous

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Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling the out-of-province union CSN’s meetings dangerous and socially irresponsible.

“The second wave is on us, and public health officials are urging us to do everything we can to keep our distance and stop the deadly spread of COVID-19,” said Thomas, pointing to the Ontario Chief Medical Officer’s pleas for people to avoid hot spots. “The citizens of Ontario have been asked to reduce their social circles and limit contact to only those close to you. CSN is on a raiding tour, coming from COVID hotspots and travelling to areas where cases are currently lower.

“Meetings by a union that’s losing members and losing money in a doomed attempt to raid our union places unnecessary risks on our correctional members, their families and our communities.”

CSN, which stands for Confédération des syndicats nationaux, is a Quebec-based union that is attempting to raid OPSEU members in Corrections. Few OPSEU members have expressed interest, but that hasn’t stopped CSN – which has lost millions in revenue after losing more than 22,000 members over the past several years – from sending representatives from jail to jail in an effort to drum up support.

“If it weren’t so dangerous, I’d say it was just pathetic,” said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, who is himself a Correctional Officer. “But it is dangerous. While OPSEU’s staff continues to work from home and OPSEU members only meet remotely, CSN could be spreading the virus from correctional worker to correctional worker, from correctional workers to their family members, and from community to community.

“It’s clear that they don’t actually care about front-line workers – they just care about their dues.”

Chris Jackel, the chair of OPSEU’s Correctional Division, says he’s hearing more and more in recent weeks, that the members he represents just want CSN to stop its divisive campaign.

“Corrections and OPSEU leadership have worked exceptionally hard these past 6 months to instill more safety precautions in Ontario, far more than any other Corrections jurisdiction across Canada, including the Federal ones,” said Jackel. “To continue embarking on their tour, during this second wave, only serves to potentially ruin everything we’ve worked for and needlessly puts our staff members at risk. We want our members to be as safe as possible so that we can focus on what’s important: doing the best work we can do as safely as possible, and, facing the employer, not fighting each other.”

For more information:

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931