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Canada: Better pay for MTC guards?
Come on -- that cuts into profits!!!

Wage parity keeps jail guards and employer apart

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 Nov. 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.

When contacted by The Mirror on Tuesday, a spokesman for Management and Training Corporation Canada (MTCC), the operators of the Penetanguishene correctional facility, expressed disappointment that the union had rejected the latest offer made by the company.

But MTCC communication director Peter Mount said he was "optimistic" the two parties will be able to come to some kind of an agreement soon.

"Another negotiation session has been scheduled for next week, so the fact the company and the union want to continue talking is an optimistic sign," said Mount.

The next talks between the MTCC and representatives for OPSEU Local 369 are scheduled for Feb. 25.

There are 204 correctional officers at the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC).

"Another negotiation session has been scheduled for next week, so the fact the company and the union want to continue talking is an optimistic sign." Peter Mount, MTCC

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