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Frustrated corrections employees express dissatisfaction with union
REGINA -- Employees of the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre went to their union, SGEU, on Thursday to express their frustrations. Members could be seen outside the SGEU building wearing t-shirts that read ‘not my president,’ along with a photo of SGEU president Bob Bymoen.
"We as correctional officers in Regina don’t recognize Bob Bymoen as our president,” corrections officer Benji Hazen said.
The employees are frustrated with their union because they have voted twice in favour of a strike and are still working. Employees of SGEU came to the head office on Thursday to vote on the government’s new offer to the union.
"I don’t know how else to effect change in government if you can’t hit them in the wallet,” corrections officer Colin McCannell said. “It seems to be the only thing that matters to them. Corrections have an opportunity, unlike many places, to really affect them in the wallet."
SGEU president, Bob Bymoen, said even though there have been two strike votes it would be illegal to strike right now because the union and the government are working on an essential services agreement. Bymoen said that agreement has been in the works for 16 or 17 months.
"The laws say because it’s an essential service, we have to negotiate an essential services agreement with the government and we can’t strike until there is an essential services agreement. We can’t get an agreement," Bymoen said.
The issue of the essential services agreement reinforces correctional employees’ argument that they should have a separate bargaining unit in SGEU away from ministry staff members.
"You know if you're working downtown, I mean you have to deal with parking,” McCannell said. “That's not an issue we have to deal with. That’s obviously a fairly minor situation. But those people are not likely to go into work and get stabbed."