There were no losses and some minor gains for corrections officers across the province in their union’s new collective agreement with government, according to a St. John’s corrections officer (CO).
“We didn’t get a pay raise, but we didn’t lose anything,” said the CO, who spoke to The Telegram anonymously Tuesday minutes after leaving a meeting at the Comfort Inn in St. John’s.
“There were some positives, so overall it was pretty good. It was the best of a bad situation, to be honest.”
The 250 COs — who are members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) — voted 90 per cent in favour to accept the deal, according to the CO.
They agreed to have no salary increases during the four years of the agreement, which will expire again Oct. 31, 2019.
There were no job losses and government agreed to turn 25 casual positions into permanent jobs, the CO said.
“That’s good news for those people wanting to get in the pension,” the officer said. “It was a back-door way of getting permanent positions.”
The most heated issue, the CO said, was annual leave. Government agreed to extend annual leave to year-round. It replaces the previous schedule, in which officers would rotate annual leave between May 15 and Oct. 15, and would need to apply and get special permission from institutional management to take leave outside those dates.
An agreement was also reached with government in that if a new building were ever to be constructed under a public-private partnership, NAPE members would staff it.
There has been no announcement on construction of a new prison nor how it would be funded, however.
“We are very happy to see this result which brings a close to this round of public sector bargaining,” NAPE president Jerry Earle said after the COs voted to tentatively accept the deal a few weeks ago.
Ratification votes were held in six locations throughout the province this past week, with the final one in St. John’s Tuesday.
“We’re glad it’s over,” the CO said. “We’re glad everybody is on the same page, for the most part, and that it’s finally in the books.
“Sad thing is, we’ll be back at all this again next year.”