Monday, September 14, 2009

Radio Issues--Reports Requested

As we are all aware Management has often informed us to rely on our less than reliable Radio System for Emergency Transmissions. However we all know that these radio's fail nearly as often as they work. Your local Union Executive are requesting you take a couple minutes at the end of your shift to report any and all issues with your radio use throughout the radio. Please take note of poor transmissions, dead/dying batteries and the frequency of such. Submit one report to Management and one to either Paul, Jason or Randy. Yes this takes work, but just a few minutes worth, but this work will assist your Health and Safety Committee affect change for all of us.

It saved his life

'It saved his life'
A protective vest is credited with saving the life of a veteran correctional officer who was among six guards attacked by two convicts at Kingston Penitentiary Wednesday evening. "It saved his life," said Jason Godin, regional president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers. He spoke to the officer yesterday, two days after the attack. "He said, 'If I hadn't had the vest, the guy would have sunk 12 inches of blade in my kidney,' " Godin said. The officer became involved in a scuffle on a cellblock of the maximum-security federal prison. One inmate became very aggressive, Godin said, and at some point produced a large-bladed knife and jabbed it into the officer's torso. "It felt like a real solid punch and then he realized (the prisoner) tried to stab him," Godin said. He said the officer has some bruising. The knife used in the attack -- or shiv, as it's known in prison -- was recovered. Godin said police took the officer's vest as evidence. The assaults happened around 10:30 p. m., when convicts were being locked in their cells. The incident began when one inmate smashed a fluorescent light tube in his cell and began hurling the pieces of broken glass at two officers. The officers suffered cuts. Four other officers were attacked by the inmate with a homemade weapon, according to Corrections Canada. The prison service did not disclose that the weapon was a knife. Three of them suffered cuts to their hands, wrist and back and one suffered a pulled muscle. Corrections will not provide any additional details. "I know that the officers were wearing stab-proof vests and they're very good pieces of safety equipment that CSC has provided to the officers who are working in the units," Brian Joyce, an assistant warden at Kingston Pen said yesterday. "I can't speak specifically about whether that was a life-saving event or not but it certainly is a mitigating factor." are still being assessed. One officer may have suffered an injured eye from flying glass. Joyce cited privacy laws in refusing to provide any information about the status of the staff. The two inmate attackers have been transferred out of the prison and could end up in a special handling unit, a super- secure facility for convicts who pose a threat behind bars. All of the roughly 400 convicts at KP remain confined to their cells and all visits and programs were cancelled to allow a prison-wide search for weapons and contraband. "We're going to take our time and do what's necessary to make sure every-thing's safe before we open up," Joyce said. He could not predict when the search would be completed and the institution's normal routine would be restored. Godin said the incident could have been defused, with fewer injuries, if correctional officers were permitted to carry OC, a form of pepper spray. He said staff could see the incident spiralling out of control. "If we had [OC spray], we could have prevented further injuries," he said. The union has been battling senior management for some time, arguing that prison guards should be permitted to carry small canisters of the spray so that they can swiftly respond to violent incidents. At the moment, OC spray is available, but staff must go to a locked, central command post and ask permission from a supervisor for its use. Godin said staff often don't have time to fetch a weapon. "Eighty per cent of the use-of-force incidents that happen in our institutions are spontaneous," he said. Two years ago, guards at maximum-security Kent Institution in British Columbia briefly refused to work and filed a health and safety complaint under the Canada Labour Code over the failure of prison bosses to issue OC spray. A tribunal hearing was held in July to examine the complaint. A decision could take six months. "It is frustrating," said Gord Robertson, regional president of the union based in Abbotsford, B. C. "It's difficult when we know that these things actually protect staff, they actually save staff's lives and in the case of OC it can definitely help in protecting inmates' lives because we can break up fights." Robertson said the union faced the same resistance from senior Corrections bosses over demands for handcuffs and vests to be standard issue, at least in maximum-security prisons. Corrections initially resisted union demands for cuffs and vests, arguing they would provoke or intimidate prisoners. In 2004, Corrections Canada agreed to allow correctional officers to carry handcuffs. Vests were issued to staff in maximum-security prisons and to some staff in medium-security facilities about two years ago. Robertson said Corrections is facing a serious budget crunch and money may be a factor in the resistance to give OC spray to all staff. He notes that Corrections spent nearly $25,000 to hire an expert to appear at the tribunal in July to argue against the union. "Twenty-four thousand, nine hundred dollars would buy enough OC spray for an institution for years," he said. Robertson said staff inside prisons face a growing threat of violence. "CSC realizes that these inmates are becoming more and more violent all the time," he said.

From The MERC Team - September 2/09

Dear Corrections Division
ASMPP - policy grievances are moving forward on managements program, we have yet to get answers to our well....we have a second stage meeting coming up in near future, September 8th, 2009.
Roll Overs - no information as of yet around "Rolls" is due to the fact that there is no news to report.There are loads of rumours, but as our last Lock Talk indicated....that's all they are.....we are still in negotiations with management on the issue of rollovers...(and many other items) as well management is in the process of going through calculating all the hours of Fixed Term/Unclassified/Contract Employees across the province.The numbers per institution are not agreed upon...we have given management our suggested formula...but they have yet to come back with their suggestions or recommendations.When something is agreed upon...we will send it to your local presidents...& then we will post it on here, it is usually up within a day after notice is sent to local Presidents.The Union has no desire to hold up serves the members in no positive manner...we are continuing to push for a speedy and fair process to gain stability for our members.
Meeting with Deputy Minister and ADM's - There was a meeting called September 1st, 2009 at OPSEU Head Office with representation from the president's office, staff services and the grievance department as well Brothers Gord Longi and Eddy Almeida. Deputy Minister, Mr. Jay Hope, ADM's for Institutions Mr. Steven Small and Community Kevin Cowie also attended, Dr. Ralph Agard, ADM of OED was not in attendance....We had the opportunity to speak frankly with the deputy and ADM's as what we believe are our common goals as well as what we see as barriers to moving forward in a positive manner. Primarily we want to be included in the law enforcement community, treated with the same respect and discussed how to work together to get there....we are hoping the recommendations that come out of the Security and Inmate Management Committee as well as other MERC/POH&SC/SAROCSC committees and sub committees assist in outlining methods to reach these goals over time, as well as deal with outstanding Labour Management issues. We understand that we still have some major hurtles a head of us....but we are hoping that with dialogue we should be able to come to some agreements and then actions that are in the best interest of all.
Committees - We have brought the MCSCS committees up to date on our web site, they and the members attached to said committees can be found under Information, but may be moved under stand alone heading of committees in very near future. As in all other aspects of our web site, this is a work in progress.
Any other it comes available, we will post ASAP.
Thank you for your continued work in protecting the good citizens of Ontario.