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.
CSN union workers in contract negotiation
2015 March 03
As you all may or may not know the people who work with us from the CSN are unionized workers just like us, and as such they too enter into contract negotiations. For us it represents the office assistants, the regional advisors, chief negotiator, lawyers, communications, and mobilization specialists; all people with whom we deal daily in representing our members.
They have been without a contract and in negotiations for approximately the past two years. The two sides to date have not been able to come to an agreement. That said we are now going to be experiencing some mobilization tactics from their union.
What does this mean for us?
They have been carrying out different job actions at the CSN buildings for the last few weeks. To date none have affected UCCO-SACC-CSN.
Yesterday, February 24, 2015 their union called for a job action where all their union members are not to meet with members or executives of any of the 2500 unions they service. They will be answering phones, taking messages and rescheduling meetings with members.
As of today, they will still be preparing and representing us at all adjudication hearings, Occupational Health and Safety tribunals, as well any WCB hearings that maybe scheduled.
If no settlement is reached over the next few days, we may experience an increased disruption of services, as one would expect in any labour dispute. We, as the national executive, expect you, our members, to respect their rights to bargain, as we would any union.
Should it escalate to a rotating or a full blown strike, we are working on contingency plans to maintain all our services. Also, should there be pickets out front of the offices we ask our members to respect those lines and not cross as the offices will be closed.
We will keep local executives informed of any further developments.
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.”
UCCO-SACC-CSN expressed its disappointment and displeasure with the employer’s decision to end Injury on Duty Leave for officers after one hundred thirty (130) working days. After this period, officers whose claim is still supported by their province’s WCB will be placed on pay direct, unless they are set to return to work “imminently.”
This decision, communicated to the union during our week in Ottawa, is yet another example of the employer changing the terms and conditions of employment during the legislative freeze period.
“Danger Ahead” in Ottawa West-Nepean Correctional officers launch of campaign to counter Conservative anti-union attacks
Ottawa, September 30, 2014 — Unionized correctional officers begin to push back against the Conservative government’s anti-union attacks this afternoon by talking directly to voters in the federal Ottawa West-Nepean riding.
Employers and Bargaining Agents have agreed that the National Joint Council is the "Forum of Choice" for co-development, consultation and information sharing between the government as employer and public service bargaining agents. Through the National Joint Council, the parties take joint ownership of broad labour relations issues and develop collaborative solutions to workplace issues."
The following is a brief synopsis of the September 4, 2014 NLMC between the UCCO-SACC–CSN National Executive and the Commissioner and his NHQ team. The meeting agenda was particularly long, as there were many outstanding labour relations items between the parties.
Treasury Board finally tabled their mysterious sick leave proposal at the Public Service Alliance of Canada bargaining table September 10, after months of a failed propaganda campaign to persuade public service unions to discuss it outside the normal negotiating process.