As the Union met with Treasury Board to resume negotiations for our collective agreement, we regret to inform you that almost no progress has been made. The employer’s proposal regresses from our current sick leave benefits.
The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO- SACC-CSN ) invites correctional officers not to vote for the Conservatives. In the first of 5 videos, the National Vice President of UCCO-SACC, Jason Godin, gives two arguments.
Global Agreement On Tuesday March 31st the Union resumed negotiations to renew the Global Agreement. We opened up by discussing our proposal to round up annual leave allotments within the 4 and 9 percent. Much to our surprise CSC came to us empty handed without a mandate to open up on anything, citing financial reasons as to why the door was closed on our proposals. We then went on to discuss labour relations committees in an attempt to clarify language following the agreements we reached on clustered sites. CSC dismissed our proposals repeating that the cupboard was bare. By this point, the National Executive did not see any benefit in continuing as there were no openings by CSC’s negotiating team. We instead decided to raise our concerns with the Commissioner at the NLMC table.
The hearing dealt with the employer’s violation of both our collective agreement and the Public Service Labour Relations Act in the employer’s re-interpretation of the clause on the 200 hours sick leave advance. The Act provides for a freeze of conditions of employment after a notice to bargain has been served by either party.
NATIONAL PRESIDENT KEVIN GRABOWSKY made a number of political contacts in recent weeks, appearing before committees in both the House of Commons and the Senate on two bills that tighten parole and release opportunities for offenders, as well as meeting with individual MPs.
By filing a bargaining notice at the beginning of the legal period almost a year ago, Treasury Board signalled it was anxious to begin this round of collective bargaining. However, this apparent enthusiasm is still not reflected at the table.
Five subjects, five intense weeks A mug to remember
Since November 1st, UCCO-SACC-CSN has conducted an intensive campaign to entrench our negotiating demands with all 7500 members. Every day over the past five weeks, we have discussed the subjects that are important to us as correctional officers: our future working conditions.
Federal and Ontario correctional officers lobby for inclusion in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act
ON OCTOBER 29, 2014, UCCO-SACC-CSN national vice-president Jason Godin joined Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) corrections division representatives Dan Sidsworth, Monte Vieselmeyer and Clark Moss during meetings with several ontario MPPs to discuss Bill 2, which would recognize post-traumatic stress disorder for first responders as it relates to WSIB claims.
Jason Godin with Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn (centre) and OPSEU representative Dan Sidsworth
For improved Allowances
2014 November 17
Our allowance demands
Correctional officer allowance of $1750:
• Doubles to $3500 after 3 years to recognize seniority • Becomes pensionable
• Continues our efforts to maintain comparability with the RCMP • Recognizes the unique nature of our jobs
Retention and Recruitment allowance (Grande Cache and Port-Cartier):
• $2400 – single • $3600 – family
• To offset the high cost of living in remote areas • Create incentive to stay at these sites.
• Dog handler ($4 each 4 hours worked to $2.50 per hour for all hours including overtime) • Clothing + $200 for max $800 • Instructor +.25 • ERT / negotiator +.25 • Fire brigade +.25
These allowances recognize our different responsibilities, our qualifications and our professionalism in our institutions.
Use this week to think of your own reasons to justify our demand on allowances. Take every opportunity to discuss the issue with your colleagues to ensure that all our members understand and support the union’s efforts on this important topic in our negotiations.
Fighting for better annual leave
2014 November 10
Our annual leave demand:
• After 6 years of service: 4 weeks
• After 12 years of service: 5 weeks
• After 18 years of service: 6 weeks
Plus: More control over when we take vacations.
Annual leave demands are important:
• To help combat our work-related stress
• Because we are correctional officers 24-7, and we need the time to heal and recover from the constant pressure of our jobs
• For a better quality of life at home and in our families
• To simplify a currently complicated vacation accrual system
• After 6, 12 or 18 years, we have earned more time off from a job that few can do and even fewer want
• After 18 years, 6 weeks of vacation is a reasonable expectation considering the accumulated wear and tear of our jobs on our physical and mental health
Use this week to think of your own reasons to justify our demand on annual leave. Take every opportunity to discuss the issue with your colleagues to ensure that all our members understand and support the union’s efforts on this important topic in our negotiations.
A dangerous Halloween for workers under Canada Labour Code
2014 October 30
Montreal, October 30, 2014 — The Harper government is playing a Halloween trick on Canadian workers whose jobs are governed by the Canada Labour Code, but federal correctional officers aren’t laughing. A new and weaker labour code definition of “danger” that was hidden in the 308 pages of last spring’s omnibus budget implementation legislation, the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2, takes effect October 31.
For the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN), the amendment will hamper future efforts to make federal penitentiaries safer and more secure. The law also eliminates independent federal Health and Safety Officers, who until tomorrow are responsible for investigating complaints of dangerous workplaces. HSOs will be replaced by political appointees reporting directly to the Labour Minister, who will now also have the power to unilaterally overturn their decisions.
“This is a revolting trick for anyone working under federal labour law, but especially on those of us who wear a uniform on behalf of our country,” said UCCO-SACC-CSN National President Kevin Grabowsky. “As correctional officers, we are outraged by these reckless and unnecessary changes to the labour code.”
As amended in 2000, the Canada Labour Code definition of danger includes “any existing or potential hazard or condition or any current or future activity that could reasonably be expected to cause injury or illness to a person exposed to it before the hazard or condition can be corrected.” The new definition subjects federal workers to the pre-2000 notion of “imminent” threat in order to justify a refusal to work under Section 128 of the labour code.
“In our workplace, when there is a two-foot length of steel pipe missing we know there will be danger, even if it is not imminent,” Mr. Grabowsky noted. Indeed, UCCO-SACC-CSN was one of the first unions to make extensive use of the 2000 definition of danger, winning a landmark Federal Court decision in 2004 that widened the application of the concept for all federally regulated workers.
The Federal Court’s Verville ruling – which resulted in our members’ right to carry handcuffs – affirmed that “danger” included unpredictable human behaviour. The wording in the new legislation eliminates these obvious elements of frontline correctional work as a consideration in the labour code. “For correctional officers, this change is crucial,” noted Mr. Grabowsky.
“It seriously weakens our ability to use the code to force safety changes in our institutions. It’s a prime example of the Conservative government’s dangerous anti-labour agenda.”