Fall is well underway, and the National Executive has been very busy. The National Labour Management meeting occurred during the first week of September, and the following week saw all local presidents meet for our mid-mandate meeting, once again in Ottawa. At the beginning of October, we were back again in Ottawa for different committees and meetings. Here are the highlights.
All local, regional, and national elected representatives attended this two day meeting. The purpose of the Mid Mandate meeting is to provide updates to each local on the progression of the mandate, and to discuss the working plan for the remainder of the term. Updates were given on our negotiations, mobilization, recent decisions, as well as each of our committees we are engaged with the employer on. On the first day, we took the opportunity to mobilize our delegation and show the Treasury Board that we work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The main theme of our mobilization was the increased violence occurring in our workplaces. This escalation of violence is occurring as a result of increased drug interdiction, legislative changes hindering our ability to adequately manage our populations, and the employer’s unwillingness to hold inmates accountable for violent incidents. These are issues that the Treasury Board needs to accept as our reality when they sit at the negotiation table with our bargaining committee. This mobilization certainly set the tone that our membership is Proud, United and Strong.
The change of insurer that took place at the beginning of the summer has been challenging. Although many improvements were made to our coverage, many of our members have been the victims of inadequate care, interrupted calls and problems purchasing medication. The Public Service Health Care plan is one that is negotiated through the National Joint Council, and UCCO-SACC-CSN continues to use this committee in putting forward the concerns of this transition to the employer and the provider. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to communicate with your executive committee, once again, here is the PSHCP link which may help to understand the plan and its changes from the transition from Sun Life https:// www.rssfp.ca/protections/ . We will continue to monitor the situation very carefully.
We continue to experience sporadic problems with the Phoenix payroll system. In recent weeks, both Mountain and Edmonton Max have been paid double overtime. There are also several individual issues which continue to arise, and we are doing our best to prioritize these with the Correctional Service. Our policy grievance on the employer’s abusive overpayment recoveries was heard during the third week of September. We are awaiting further dates in this hearing and will keep you informed on the progress. In addition, we continue to be actively engaged with the National Joint Council on any updates to the Next Generation pay service which has been awarded to Ceridian. As it stands now, this new pay system continues to shadow the Phoenix system in different departments, with continual testing to make sure its eventual rollout will be seamless.
In our regions and our locals, the employer seems to be continuing to put pressure on our local scheduling committee to work on the development of new schedules and issuing direction to use an amended version of the scheduling bulletin. As you know, an unfair labour practice complaint has been submitted on the amended direction, which we continue to wait on a hearing date. When we discussed this issue with the employer at the National Labour Management Committee, the table fell silent. It is apparent, however, that direction continues to be filtered from the National level to the sites to continue their pressure. We have sent clear instructions to our local scheduling committees on how to proceed. Please be assured that no concessions will be accepted in this matter. Our working conditions are deteriorating day by day, and a setback to our work-family balance in a statutory freeze by a unilateral decision by the employer will not be tolerated.
The employer was trying to get recruits to volunteer in Kingston for community visits, site tours and community markets. We intervened to stop this practice.
The new Appendix B of CD-004 has just been published on the HUB. Once again, the employer has ruled this CD without taking into consideration most of the comments made from the union during the consultation phase. There remain several issues that we will continue to engage the employer on in each of our various committees.
Our position is clear: the needle exchange program poses an additional danger to correctional officers and does very little to mitigate the employer’s goal of minimizing the spread of infectious disease. Despite the fact that overdose prevention sites are a safer option for both staff and inmates, CSC insists on implementing needle exchange programs. Of course, the reason is simple: PNEP is much less expensive than an OPS.
During our meetings with the employer, they provided us with an implementation plan for 2023-2024 regarding their planned rollout of the prison needle exchange program and overdose prevention sites.
Once again, money comes before safety. The national mobilization committee is keeping busy developing local, regional, and national plans to ensure we maintain our pressure and combat the employer and our government for putting needles in prison cells. Let’s be ready to make ourselves heard when the time comes.
In closing, we would like to thank once again Amanda Bancroft from Edmonton Institution and Andrea Scheel from Collins Bay for their week with the National Executive. The observer Program is a great way to get to know the National Executive and to discover how much behind-the-scenes work is done each month.
Your National Executive