On Thursday, June 1, National President, David Neufeld, visited Drummondville Institution with USJE Regional Vice-President for CSC Québec, Patrick Ménard. This was President Neufeld’s first visit to Drummondville Institution.
Drummondville Local Vice-President, Michel Drolet, provided an extensive tour of the Medium Security Institution, which included a visit with the Deputy Warden, Pierre-Luc Lauzon.
President Neufeld and RVP Ménard were able to meet with approximately 35 members on site, which equates to 40% of the local membership.
They were able to meet with three distinct groups during the tour: case management supports and Parole Officers; the Correctional Program Officer group; and the Technical Services group.
President Neufeld was very impressed with the level of engagement present at the site.
In each group meeting, President Neufeld and RVP Ménard received many questions regarding the recent collective bargaining negotiations and how the tentative agreement would impact them. The USJE representatives were clear that this round of negotiations were difficult, with an employer who demonstrated an unwillingness to bargain in good faith.
Discussions with the members centered on:
- The need for higher pay scales for the CR and AS groups
- Negotiated workload levels for Parole Officers
- Enshrining telework into the new Collective Agreement and increasing the level of telework approved for Correctional Program Officers
- The recertification process for Correctional Program Officers and the need to end this practice. This practice keeps Correctional Program Officers in a state of continual “probation”.
- The wage studies for the Technical Services groups and the need for higher wage adjustments for these CSC groups
President Neufeld and RVP Ménard encouraged all members to review their tentative agreement, to attend a ratification session and to most of all vote. Ultimately, it will be up to the membership to decide if this tentative agreement is “good enough” or if they are willing to return to the strike line.
There were some discussions regarding the need to establish a USJE strike fund (for future strike top pay). There appeared to be a strong consensus that more money should be collected to establish a national USJE strike fund.
Another important issue that was raised during this visit is the number of emergency transfers that take place on a regular basis. The amount of work that comes with the number of transfers is significant and is something that is not properly resourced. President Neufeld identified that USJE will continue to advocate for more resources to support the work of our members and this includes in any future discussions around workload and resourcing tools. President Neufeld confirmed that USJE will not support any resource tool based on the Lean Method. President Neufeld and RVP Ménard would like to thank Deputy Warden, Pierre-Luc Lauzon, for meeting with us and for providing us the time to meet with our members. These meetings were extremely timely and it is anticipated that the Local will continue to grow stronger and become more mobilized in the future.