Corrections Officers Wait In Limbo

Male segregation unit at the South West Detention Centre. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Following a successful day of action Monday, a member of the bargaining team representing Ontario’s corrections officers says his union is still waiting to sit down at the bargaining table with government negotiators.

Monte Vieselmeyer, with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, says the government continues to demand concessions and zero increases, and while he’s eager for talks to continue, there may be little point. “From our perspective, if the employer isn’t going to back off their concessions, we’re not going to bargain with them on that level.”

Corrections officers gave their union a strike mandate of 96% before their contact ran out New Year’s Eve.

Vieselmeyer admits he’s not eager to strike. OPSEU is asking the Wynne government to make corrections officers essential workers, a move that would remove their right to strike.

However, Vieselmeyer suspects the government has been preparing for a walk out or lock out for a year now. “They probably sank, we believe $40 to 50-million into improvements at the various correctional facilities specifically for managers to basically stay in and sleep at the institutions,” he says. “We feel that’s resources they could have put back into their employees.”