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Superjail Correctional Officers reject second contract offer

February 13, 2004

PENETANGUISHENE - For the second time in three weeks, correctional officers at Canada’s first privatized adult correctional facility have voted to reject the employer’s offer for a first contract. Union members voted over 95 per cent to reject the offer. More than 94 per cent of the members turned out for the vote.

Sean Wilson, a correctional officer and bargaining team member for OPSEU Local 369, says that his members are adamant that they receive parity with the Ontario Public Service (OPS).

“This employer doesn’t seem to get it,” Wilson said. “Over the years, correctional officers in the OPS have set the standards for compensation and safe workplaces. Our members will not accept sub-standard conditions so that an American firm can rake in profits. That is an insult to our members, and should be an insult to every citizen in this area. We are not second-class workers, and this is not a second-class town. We do the exact same work as every other correctional officer in every other Ontario jail.”

The employer’s latest offer improved wages to equal those of OPS correctional officers, but do not reach that level until November 15, 2004. The offer also included a slight improvement to vacation time, but that improvement would not come into effect until the year 2006. The employer still refuses to negotiate shift premiums, pregnancy and parental top-up allowances or improvements to statutory holiday pay, all of which OPS correctional officers receive.

The Union bargaining team will notify Management and Training Corporation of the results of the vote today and invite them to return to the bargaining table to resume talks. If the employer refuses, the union will apply to the Ministry of Labour for a “no board report”, which will start the countdown towards a strike.

“We want to negotiate a collective agreement, not a strike,” said Don Ford, OPSEU Communications Officer. “It’s time for this American company to realize that Ontario taxpayers don’t like their hard-earned money flowing south of the border. Especially when that profit is made on the backs of Ontario workers.”

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