Correctional Officers Stage Successful Picket at Manitoba Legislature
Jan 04, 2008
Over 250 Manitoba Correctional Officers and supporters marched from the Winnipeg Convention Centre to the steps of the Manitoba Legislature to express dissatisfaction over lengthy contract negotiations and mishandling of health and safety issues.
Correctional Officers have been without a new contract since March 2006. During that time, our Province’s Correctional Officers have continued to deal with severe inmate overcrowding; escalating gang-related issues; and staffing shortages.
Workers had hoped these issues and others would be dealt with through binding arbitration, which was scheduled to begin on December 17, 2007. Instead, Provincial lawyers informed MGEU a matter of hours before the arbitration was to begin that they were using a technical legal maneuver to block the start of proceedings and further delay getting a contract for Manitoba’s 1,100 Corrections Officers.
Following the rally, the Corrections bargaining team met with Justice Minister Dave Chomiak (Kildonan) along with other Justice officials. The meeting produced a promise from the Minister that the two sides could go back to the bargaining table to try and negotiate the unresolved issues that had been scheduled to go before the arbitrator.
If an agreement can be reached on some of those issues, the length of time it will take in arbitration can be shortened and a settlement can finally be reached more expeditiously. If agreement on those issues cannot be reached, the arbitration dates remain in place and we will proceed to arbitration as scheduled.
The agreement today to get back to the table is a positive step forward. Today’s rally got the attention of the government, and underlined the dissatisfaction of the membership loudly and clearly. This could not be achieved without the participation of Correctional Officers from across the province.
Many thanks to all those who attended – each and every Correctional institution was represented today including those from The Pas, Brandon, Dauphin, Portage la Prairie, Winnipeg and Milner Ridge.