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Province blows millions on strike prep but ignores crisis in Corrections: OPSEU

TORONTO – The government of Ontario is wasting millions of public dollars on strike preparation that it should be spending to ease the crisis in correctional services, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.

“When it comes to getting ready for a strike in Corrections, money is no object for this government,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas said today. “My members who work in the jails are seeing millions spent on housing, food, and big-screen TVs for the assorted managers and scabs who will try to run these institutions in the event of a work stoppage.

“All of that money would be better used to avoid a strike,” he said. “All of that money would be better used to reduce overcrowding, reduce understaffing, and help the thousands of offenders who have serious mental health and addictions issues.”

Thomas laid blame for the waste on Treasury Board Chair Deb Matthews, who has insisted that all provincial employees accept less to pay off the Liberal government’s budget deficit.

“If I had to guess what Matthews is spending to get ready for a strike, plus what she is willing to pay for extra scab wages and overtime, I’d say it would add up to $50 million,” he said. “If she has that kind of money to fight her own frontline staff, she can afford to treat them fairly and make it safer for them to go into work every day.”

OPSEU represents some 6,000 frontline correctional staff in institutions and probation offices across the province. They will be in a legal strike or lockout position at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, January 10.

For more information:
Timothy Humphries, OPSEU Communications
(416) 443-8888 ext. 8775 (office); (416) 432-6907 (cell)

Related: Crisis In Corrections Index Page