SPRINGHILL – Federal correctional officers from across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia held an information picket on Wednesday to protest abusive management practices outside the Springhill Institution.
Members of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers set up the picket outside the institution early this morning before moving to the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre. They say overzealous managers are poisoning the workplace with frivolous disciplinary procedures. The union also says public safety is being put at risk.
UCCO-SACC-CSN regional president Doug White points to an incident last January, in which two Springhill officers were disciplined and fined for using a secure vehicle to escort an inmate to Halifax. A correctional manager who objected to the use of the vehicle launched an investigation, found the two officers guilty, and imposed fines of $160 on each of them.
"This is a kangaroo court system that serves no purpose but to intimidate our members," White said in a news release. "The safety of the public or of our officers at Springhill is apparently not a priority for Correctional Service of Canada administrators in the region."
White identified the case of two former CSC wardens who now work as staff investigators as a major source of irritation for the 225 correctional officers at Springhill Institution. In recent years, he adds, there have been more disciplinary investigations at Springhill than at all the other penitentiaries in the Atlantic region put together.
"CSC managers in the Atlantic region act as judge, jury and executioner," said White. "We are demanding an investigation and discipline system that is independent, neutral and fair."
Despite promises to work with the local union to resolve these issues, CSC has not followed through. UCCO-SACC-CSN Atlantic says a process to improve labour relations at the troubled institution must be immediately implemented.