MONCTON, QC, May 2, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Union delegates representing Canada's federal correctional officers wrapped up a three-day National General Assembly in Moncton today by electing a new national president to lead 7,500 members working at 52 penitentiaries across the country.
Kevin Grabowsky, who has served as the Prairie regional president since the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) was founded in 2001, will now lead the national union for the next three-year term. Mr. Grabowsky takes over from Pierre Mallette, who is retiring after six years as national president.
Mr. Grabowsky begins his mandate facing serious challenges in the federal correctional system, as a combination of Conservative government budget cuts and crime legislation have led to overcrowding, less access to rehabilitation programs and growing levels of violence. Meanwhile, federal correctional officers have been without a collective agreement since June 1, 2010.
"Our job is getting tougher and more dangerous, but after three years at the negotiating table, the federal government still refuses to recognize our profession as an integral part of the law-enforcement community," said Mr. Grabowsky, who worked as a correctional officer for 34 years. "UCCO-SACC-CSN will never roll over and accept this government's lack of respect for correctional officers."
Outstanding negotiating issues include wages, severance pay and medical leave. In December, Treasury Board of Canada negotiators requested conciliation via the creation of a public interest commission.
The union's fifth National General Assembly also approved a constitutional amendment to create a new position of second national vice-president. Jason Godin, the outgoing Ontario regional president, was elected to this post, which will in particular be responsible for the union's communications efforts.
Other notable changes: Tatiana Clarke was elected national vice-president, with responsibility for the union's finances; Éric Thibault was elected Quebec regional president to replace Pierre Dumont, who is also retiring; Rob Finucan was elected Ontario regional president to replace Jason Godin; and James Bloomfield will replace Kevin Grabowsky as Prairie regional president. Doug White was re-elected president of the Atlantic region, as was Gord Robertson in the Pacific region.
"At this crucial time, I am pleased to be part of a very strong team of union activists who are also first-class correctional officers. No one knows like we do what it is to work in a federal penitentiary. I am proud of UCCO-SACC-CSN and proud to represent the people who risk their lives to keep Canadians safe," concluded Mr. Grabowsky.
SOURCE: UNION OF CANADIAN CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS (UCCO-SACC-CSN)
For further information:
Lyle Stewart, CSN communications service, 514 796-2066; or Michel Bouchard, national coordinator, UCCO-SACC-CSN, 613 329-0458