«This is a great victory for Canadian correctional officers,» said Jason Godin, UCCO-SACC-CSN National President. «Since 2002, we have expressed the desire of our members to negotiate pensions and staff when renewing our collective agreement.» In 2006, the Union obtained various pension provisions that allow prison officers to retire without penalty after 25 years of service, regardless of their age. As stated in this article, UCCO has repeatedly called for better protection than workers against «offenders» infected with infectious and violent diseases and endangering prison officers. For example, in 2014, the federal Conservative government introduced Bill C-4 – an omnibus piece of legislation that contained amendments to the Canada Labour Act, which required, among other things, that all rights-based claims, such as refusal to work or claims for compensation for workplace injuries, be decided by health and safety officials designated by the Treasury Board. In addition, Bill C-4 limited the definition of «hazard» in the workplace to «any hazard, condition or activity that can reasonably be expected to constitute an immediate or serious threat to the life or health of a person exposed to it.» UCCO condemned the federal government for watering down the definition of unsafe employment by introducing the word «immediate» rather than «potential» and excluding a person as a potential danger or condition that could pose an imminent or serious threat to the life or health of a worker. The union leadership argued in its negotiations that inmates pose the greatest danger to prison officers in the workplace: «UCCO is the most active union with regard to successful complaints in the federal public service that cited the dangerous provision of work in the labor law» (UCCO-SACC-CSN 2014, 7). For example, in their last employment contract, the SCC and ucCO-SACC entered into a comprehensive agreement to clarify certain provisions of the collective agreement. In this document, the SCC and UCCO establish principles for security guards with female inmates that are not applied to persons accompanying male inmates. These principles are as follows: however, this agreement provides that the employer still has an obligation to stabilize the wage system as quickly as possible and that it does not refrain from meeting its obligations to prison officers who still suffer from Phoenix`s failings, according to UCCO. The union negotiated a stand-alone collective agreement for corrections. Prison employees have been recognized as essential workers and the right to strike has been replaced in favour of arbitration. The last round of negotiations made it possible to bring about significant improvements in wages and social benefits and to prepare the preconditions for the next round.
The announcement of $500 million in spending for 500 new full-time jobs, more than 85% of which are in OPSEU`s corrections division – not just additional staff for existing positions – and money for the infrastructure we desperately need is the culmination of OPSEU`s hard work. It comes from countless telephone meetings and conversations with elected officials and departmental officials, collaboration with opposition MPs, Queen`s Park lobbies, campaigns, difficult negotiations and specialized legal representation. We refused to throw in the towel. About 200 prison officers from the country`s 49 federal prisons have adopted the agreement, which provides for immediate compensation for prison officers as well as the introduction of a simplified procedure for appealing and assessing compensation for claims under the collective agreement, as well as the payment of damages, the union said. The CSN, a member of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, congratulated the members of UCCO-SACC-CSN for their tenacity and stressed the importance of this decision. . . .