Correctional officers across Canada are one step closer to ratifying a new contract.
On Sunday, November 16, members of the national Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO) struck a tentative agreement with the Treasury Board and Correctional Services Canada.
In Drumheller, membership at the Drumheller Institution voted in favour on Tuesday, November 28, of the proposed contract.
“It was very positive, but it is not official until they finish voting in the whole country,” said local UCCO representative Jacob Suelzle.
He explains the main issue was sick leave.
“Our sick leave stayed intact for now, which is the biggest concern our members had,” he said. “The big concern was what we were going to lose, not so much as what we were going to gain, and the losses were minimal which was a pleasant surprise.”
Another big concern is the injury on duty leave.
“Up until about really August, if an officer was injured on duty, how they were going to be compensated during that time and what kind of leave they would be placed on, was a little up in the air, depending on who was dealing with the case, whether the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) was going to pick it up and how it was going to be interpreted. So we did come to a good conclusion on that,” said Suelzle.
Under the proposed agreement, correctional officers will receive 1.25 per cent retroactive pay increase each year from June 1, 2014 to 2017, as well as a 2.3 per cent market adjustment, effective June 1, 2016. There will also be a roll in of Correctional Officer Allowance into salary Effective June 1, 2016.
All sick leave provisions will remain status quo, and there have been adjustments and improvements in the area of discipline, notice period for shift changes, leave provisions, allowances, overtime meal allowances and including CX III in its bargaining units.
“I don’t think anyone was looking for the moon when it came to money, people would be satisfied with a decent cost of living, but the big thing was what we would lose and sick leave was the biggest concern,” said Suelzle.
Voting across the country is expected to be completed in the Pacific Region on December 15.
UCCO has been in negotiations for 42 months.