HAMILTON, ON, Sept. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Public Service
Employees Union (OPSEU) has reached an agreement with the Ministry of
Community Safety and Correctional Services with respect to the nearly
month-long health and safety dispute at Hamilton-Wentworth Detention
In a settlement achieved in the late evening of September 11, any
discipline or reduction in pay by the employer will be subject to
arbitration before the Grievance Settlement Board. In addition,
Correctional Officers in every institution across Ontario will now be
allowed to wear their protective vests at any time during the course of
"The fact that our officers will be able to properly protect themselves
on the job is a major victory," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU
President. "The sacrifices made by the officers at HWDC allowed us to
achieve that. Our members' safety is of paramount importance."
Dan Sidsworth, Provincial Chair of OPSEU's Corrections Division, said
that while the union would have liked to resolve all the issues that
arose during the dispute, the health and safety issues were the most
important. The settlement allowed for provisions that would not have
been possible at an Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) hearing.
"We made gains in health and safety, and our members will be allowed to
dispute any disciplinary or economic sanctions by the employer,"
Sidsworth said. "If the OLRB hearing had gone ahead, the main argument
would have been about the work stoppage, and the safety issue would
have been a side matter for the Board."
Sidsworth thanks the members of the Corrections Division across Ontario
for the tremendous backing they have shown the officers in Hamilton
over the past month. "The outpouring of support from all of our
facilities has been unprecedented," said Sidsworth. "Officers in
Hamilton took a firm stand not only for themselves, but for every
correctional officer who risks their life to protect the people of
Ontario. Ontario's Correctional Officers thank them, and the union
thanks them for their determination, strength and conviction."
For further information:
Dan Sidsworth: 905-691-7955 (c) firstname.lastname@example.org twitter @DanSidsworth
Don Ford, OPSEU Communications: 416-788-9104