Finally a sign of respect
For three months, the members of UCCO-SACC—CSN have been actively mobilizing in a campaign for Respect. In the year leading up to this campaign, your National Executive was being ignored by the Minister of Public Safety and grew increasingly frustrated in the efforts to resolve issues at the National Labour Management table. The expectation at the start of this campaign was that, through our mobilization, our message would be heard loud and clear and quick work would be done to resolve some of the outstanding issues Correctional Officers are facing. Instead, we saw further disrespect being shown by the employer, who moved toward discipline rather than resolve, which resulted in an escalation in our mobilization.
On Wednesday May the 25th, National President, Jeff Wilkins, and CSN Coordinator, François Ouellette, met with the Commissioner at National Headquarters. The Commissioner had requested this meeting to discuss a way forward. The Commissioner communicated her intention to move forward on more of our tabled issues, while she also committed to remove the financial penalties imposed on members of the Atlantic, Ontario and Prairie regions who were sent home on Leave Without Pay during the first week of mobilization for refusing orders given to remove tape while on escort.
The following is commitments from the employer, achieved as a result of our three months of mobilization:
- WCB claims related to COVID-19 will no longer be rebutted by the employer with speculative statements or management opinion.
- Staff Gyms have reopened across the country.
- Providing clear timelines on contraband detection technology and a plan to procure additional units.
- A plan to conduct a survey on the climate in the workplace in selected institutions.
- Commitment to recognize and honour the good work done by our membership who go above and beyond the call of duty. (i.e. Commendations, communication strategies to have good stories in the media).
- Commitment to review specific disciplinary cases raised by the National President.
- Commitment to reinvest in all the various sub-committees represented by UCCO-SACC—CSN.
- Proper record keeping and tracking of issues at the Labour Management table.
There are several key issues that remain on the National Labour Management table, and these issues will continue to be a priority for the National Executive. We will continue our conversations around a recognition for our members’ sacrifices during the pandemic with both the CSC and the Minister of Public Safety. Ultimately, significant progress has been made with both the Correctional Service and the office of the Minister of Public Safety in moving our membership’s agenda to the front of the pack. The work is certainly not over, but for now we will remain cautiously optimistic that we have opened the ears of those that need to listen and created an environment of motivation for the employer to resolve our issues. This being said, members are now asked to wear their uniform shirt and remove the tape from their crests. The employers’ commitments toward a positive change will be closely monitored and if there is no change, future mobilization will be planned.
Of course, none of the progress that has been made would have been possible if it had not been for the determination of the membership. Thank you all for your unity, solidarity, and dedication during this campaign. When we stand together, we can successfully achieve anything we put our minds to.
We are all UCCO-SACC—CSN.