Sense Of Relief For Corrections Workers
But anger remains
While the workers he has spoken with at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene feel some relief with the contract worked out between their union and the province, local president Chris Jackel says anger remains. He say that anger is entrenched in the 14 months it took to get to this point. Corrections workers have been without a contract since December 2014. A key demand was to have their jobs declared an ‘essential service’, which was finally agreed to during negotiations that ended early Saturday morning. What that means is they can no longer legally strike; that their contract disputes will be decided, in future, through binding arbitration. Another part of the deal is a commitment to lift a long-standing hiring freeze and hire at least 25 new probation and parole officers. The union had wanted 100 new probation officers and hundreds more corrections officers and jail guards. The province has not agreed to hire a specific number of corrections officers. Union officials say they got what they could out of a tight-fisted government, noting that these issues won’t be solved overnight, but they have taken a step in the right direction.