Ten years ago today, on March 9, 2001, Canada’s federal correctional officers voted to make history. You voted to create the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, affiliated with the CSN. Five days later, on March 13, 2001, we were officially granted our bargaining certificate.
We became a union of correctional officers, a union run by correctional officers, with the concerns of correctional officers as our top priority.
That is why, 10 years later, we want to celebrate our achievements.
As national president, I hope you take a moment this week to reflect on your membership in our union – and the challenges we continue to face as correctional officers.
Ten years later, it is clear that we have accomplished a lot.
• We have a collective agreement that is, among correctional officer unions, one of the best in North America.
• We have won many tools to help us do our job better and to make us safer.
• We are regularly consulted by the employer, the government and the media on issues concerning the Correctional Service.
In short, it means we have won respect. Respect for the jobs we do, the dangers we face and the experience we have earned.
But we still have work to do. Many of you were not here 10 years ago, or even one year ago. Our union is growing, and the Correctional Service is changing.
We must continue to work to ensure that correctional officers work in an environment that is as safe, as humane and as professional as we can make it.
Unfortunately, we are concerned about many of the changes now being implemented in the Correctional Service. We will have a larger inmate population serving longer sentences. As correctional officers, we are the first people affected by this new reality. We need to make sure our members will be as safe as they can be.
We also are trying to renew our collective agreement. And over the coming months we will need the support of all our members to ensure we are treated with respect.
But this week, let’s have a party to congratulate ourselves on 10 great years as a union. Congratulations!
With pride, solidarity, and dignity,