Prison workers picket outside Joyceville Institution amid contract negotiations

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Prison workers picket outside Joyceville Institution amid contract negotiations
With over two years having passed since the end of their last contract, negotiations are going poorly between unionized prison employees and the Treasury Board of Canada – Nov 14, 2022

Workers from multiple penitentiaries in Kingston and the surrounding area were out picketing Monday morning as they say they’re still without a fair deal.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) represents over 123,000 federal public service workers across the country under the Treasury Board of Canada.

It’s been over two years of negotiations with the federal government for a variety of government workers, including those at Joyceville Institution.

“Bargaining is not going well. The government has only offered us on the average of 1.75. With the cost of living the way it is and everything else, it’s time that we got a decent raise and move it up to where we can make a living the same as everybody else,” said Chris Snooks, Region Three Ontario representative for PSAC.

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Every single car that pulled into the drive at Joyceville was greeted by the picketers, who were offering buttons and information about what they’re doing and why.

“Right now, we’ve been without a contract for over two years and we just want fair wages. What they’re offering us right now, like two per cent, is pennies,” said Tammy Robinson, union president for Warkworth Institution.

Snooks said that the workers are asking for a 4.8 per cent raise, signifying a large gap between the workers and the government.

He also said they’re currently in a “PIC” or, Public Interest Commission, a process by which recommendations are made after appointees from the labour board, the union and the employer briefly state their cases.

A statement sent to Global News on behalf of the Treasury Board of Canada read, in part:

“We acknowledge that public servants, like all Canadians, have experienced a spike in inflation, but we can’t lose sight of the fact we are negotiating collective agreements that span several years. Wage increases must consider the entire economic context over this period — including inflation forecasts for the coming months and years.”

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With no definite timeline and no end in sight, Snooks said as long as the negotiations continue, so will the pickets.

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