Members picket Joyceville Institution to protest delays in contract bargaining

Two USJE locals collaborated on an info picket at Joyceville Institution on June 14, to show their displeasure with stalled contract negotiations. It has been almost a year since the contract expired. 

Rick Sweetman, president of Local 00039, Joyceville Penitentiary, says the demonstration started early, at 6:30 am, and slowed down arriving staff for about two hours.

“We stirred the pot, with the warden not very happy,” he says. Sweetman co-organized the event with Kyle Grace, president of Local 0009, Pittsburgh Penitentiary. 

Grace says the members are frustrated and want the employer to come back to the table. “The Liberal government told us how important we were to the country during COVID,” he says, “but when it comes to money just to cover inflation, Treasury Board walked away from the table.”

The picket was timed to coincide with Public Service Appreciation week, which Grace says was a slap in the face for public servants.

Union members from CFB Kingston joined the two locals to hand out literature, buttons and stickers, provided by Rohit Revi, staff at the PSAC office in Kingston.

“The response and support was amazing,” says Sweetman, “with lots of positive feedback.”

Sweetman wants to thank the members from CFB Kingston for their assistance, and says there are plans to join them on the base in the future, and to take their joint concerns to MP offices. “Kyle and I are just getting warmed up in our area,” he says.

The locals plan to meet with the negotiating team for an update June 22 in Kingston.