Corrections & Sheriffs: Overtime, breaks and unsafe work: refusal rights and “emergencies” - BCGEU


With the ongoing shortage of corrections officers & sheriffs province-wide and within your own workplace, your Component 1 Executive wants to remind all members of their right to refuse overtime as well as the contractual obligation on the employer to provide you with both a meal and coffee breaks.

Article 16.9 – Right to Refuse Overtime
a) All employees shall have the right to refuse to work overtime, except when required to do so in emergency situations, without being subject to disciplinary action for so refusing.

Our Component 1 agreement is also clear on the definition of emergencies:

Article 11 – Emergencies Defined
A sudden unexpected or unforeseen situation or occurrence or set of circumstances demanding an immediate action.

Unsafe work
Corrections officers & sheriffs are routinely given more work to do and are being asked to do more than can reasonably or realistically be accomplished. Your union understands these concerns and reminds you to look after the health and safety of you and your co-workers. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel you are unsafe due to short staffing or any other situation, you have the right to refuse unsafe work.

Members are reminded of Section 3.12 ("How to Refuse Unsafe Work") of the Occupation Health and Safety (OH&S) Regulation.

If you have reason to believe that the work is unsafe, this is the procedure to follow:

  • Talk to your supervisor or employer;
  • Supervisor must investigate and fix the hazard or let you know that s/he doesn't agree that there is a hazard;
  • If you still believe the work is dangerous then you can continue to refuse and the supervisor must continue the investigation in the presence of the worker and a worker representative from the OH&S committee, a union designate or a co-worker selected by you;
  • If the hazard is still not fixed and you consider the work unsafe, you can continue to refuse and both you and the employer must contact the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). A WCB officer must investigate the matter without delay and issue whatever orders s/he considers necessary;
  • You may be reassigned to alternate work, at no loss in pay, while you wait for the WCB officer's decision;
  • Always let your shop steward know that you are refusing unsafe work.

Section 3.13 says that you cannot be fired or disciplined by your employer for refusing unsafe work. Any indication of retribution by the employer should be reported to your steward immediately.

Lunch and Coffee Breaks
All employees shall have two, 15-minute rest periods in each work period in excess of six hours, one rest period to be granted before and one after the meal period. Employees working a shift of three and one half hours, but not more than six hours, shall receive one rest period during such a shift. Rest periods shall not begin until one hour after the commencement of work or not later than one hour before either the meal period or the end of the shift. Rest periods shall be taken without loss of pay to the employees.

It’s unacceptable for our members to be working through coffee and lunch breaks. These are your rights under the collective agreement and they will not be stripped away by the employer.
The Component will track this information to see how widespread the problem is and work towards solutions. Please contact your Local chair.

 

In solidarity,
Dean Purdy, BCGEU Vice President Corrections and Sheriff Services - Component 1

 

 

Local 467/MoveUP

With the ongoing shortage of corrections officers & sheriffs province-wide and within your own workplace, your Component 1 Executive wants to remind all members of their right to refuse overtime as well as the contractual obligation on the employer to provide you with both a meal and coffee breaks.

Article 16.9 – Right to Refuse Overtime
a) All employees shall have the right to refuse to work overtime, except when required to do so in emergency situations, without being subject to disciplinary action for so refusing.

Our Component 1 agreement is also clear on the definition of emergencies:

Article 11 – Emergencies Defined
A sudden unexpected or unforeseen situation or occurrence or set of circumstances demanding an immediate action.

Unsafe work
Corrections officers & sheriffs are routinely given more work to do and are being asked to do more than can reasonably or realistically be accomplished. Your union understands these concerns and reminds you to look after the health and safety of you and your co-workers. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel you are unsafe due to short staffing or any other situation, you have the right to refuse unsafe work.

Members are reminded of Section 3.12 ("How to Refuse Unsafe Work") of the Occupation Health and Safety (OH&S) Regulation.

If you have reason to believe that the work is unsafe, this is the procedure to follow:

  • Talk to your supervisor or employer;
  • Supervisor must investigate and fix the hazard or let you know that s/he doesn't agree that there is a hazard;
  • If you still believe the work is dangerous then you can continue to refuse and the supervisor must continue the investigation in the presence of the worker and a worker representative from the OH&S committee, a union designate or a co-worker selected by you;
  • If the hazard is still not fixed and you consider the work unsafe, you can continue to refuse and both you and the employer must contact the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). A WCB officer must investigate the matter without delay and issue whatever orders s/he considers necessary;
  • You may be reassigned to alternate work, at no loss in pay, while you wait for the WCB officer's decision;
  • Always let your shop steward know that you are refusing unsafe work.

Section 3.13 says that you cannot be fired or disciplined by your employer for refusing unsafe work. Any indication of retribution by the employer should be reported to your steward immediately.

Lunch and Coffee Breaks
All employees shall have two, 15-minute rest periods in each work period in excess of six hours, one rest period to be granted before and one after the meal period. Employees working a shift of three and one half hours, but not more than six hours, shall receive one rest period during such a shift. Rest periods shall not begin until one hour after the commencement of work or not later than one hour before either the meal period or the end of the shift. Rest periods shall be taken without loss of pay to the employees.

It’s unacceptable for our members to be working through coffee and lunch breaks. These are your rights under the collective agreement and they will not be stripped away by the employer.
The Component will track this information to see how widespread the problem is and work towards solutions. Please contact your Local chair.

 

In solidarity,
Dean Purdy, BCGEU Vice President Corrections and Sheriff Services - Component 1

 

 

Local 467/MoveUP