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Component 1 Update: May 15, 2020 - BCGEU

Component 1 Update: May 15, 2020

Corrections' New Normal 

The government introduced BC's Restart Plan last week but we can expect the safeguards to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 that have been put in place in B.C.'s corrections centres to remain for the foreseeable future. We may see an effort by the employer to expand visits and programs, but your union will ensure that any movement in that direction will proceed safely. 

Sheriff Risk Assessment

In contrast to the forecast for corrections, dramatic changes in the worksite will be happening for sheriffs as the courthouses reopen. To ensure that happens safely your union began working with the employer on a risk assessment this week. The assessment will cover workplace changes for sheriffs in the weeks and months to come. Local 104 member at large Rick Holzapfel, l;ocal 103 member at large and component 1 executive (sheriffs) member Dave Iorizzo will be representing your union in the risk assessment. Local 104 chair Brandon Cox and BCGEU staff representative Brian Campbell will also be available as resources. Dave Iorizzo will oversee this provincially and will report to me directly.

Force Options Training – Exposure Control Plan 

Last week Force Options Training (FOT) was completed at OCC as a pilot project under an Exposure Control Plan (ECP), which was largely based on a provincial risk assessment developed through the hard work of local 104 chair Brandon Cox, local 105 chair Krissie Hayes, and BCGEU staff representative Brian Campbell. local 107 chair Scott Cudney attended the training at OCC on behalf of component 1. The ECP was adjusted by the employer following the pilot project at OCC. FOT started on Wednesday at SPSC and FRCC. Local 104 chair Brandon Cox and Local 104 JOHS co-chair Kyle McLellan are participating in observer and consultative roles on behalf of the BCGEU. 

FOT will begin at VIRCC and KRCC the week of May 25, 2020. I will attend these sessions on behalf of the union along with Local 105 chair Krissie Hayes. We will keep you updated as we receive notice of FOT for the remainder of the jails.

Pandemic Pay Premium 

The BCGEU is continuing to push for a pandemic pay premium for all essential workers in B.C. President Stephanie Smith has spoken directly with government officials, including Finance Minister Carole James about this pressing issue. Thus far we have received no further information from government, but are hoping for an announcement soon. This is a critical issue for the BCGEU and we will continue to pursue it. 

Correctional officers and sheriffs are recognized as first responders in B.C. and work in the same dangerous and close environments as frontline healthcare workers. And, for the same reasons some healthcare workers are receiving additional pay for their selfless efforts on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, so too should correctional officers and sheriffs. The BCGEU will continue to fight for this recognition.

Victoria Day Long Weekend

Thank you to all component 1 members who work hard each day to ensure the safety of all British Columbians! I know you put your safety at risk every day preventing and responding to emergencies of all types. Hopefully all of you have an opportunity to enjoy some part of the Victoria Day long weekend – at a safe social distance of course - and hopefully we get some sunshine.

In solidarity,

Dean Purdy
Component 1 Chair & BCGEU Vice-President