B.C.'S UNION SINCE 1919

Proudly wearing our pins - BCGEU


Dear Component 1 members,

Today many of you attended a rally against violence towards Correctional Officers in the line of duty. Speakers at the rally expressed their ongoing concerns about working conditions in provincial correctional facilities, staff-to-inmate ratios, inmate violence and a lack of support by the Corrections Branch for correctional staff. Additionally, some speakers mentioned some of your fellow officers that were disciplined or discharged for their involvement in a use of force incident in 2017.
 
Some of you chose to wear to work a union-authorized pin that was distributed, showing your solidarity with your brothers and sisters affected by violence in the workplace. You were ordered by managers to remove the pin because it was not sanctioned. We believe that this is in direct response to comments made at the rally about the union’s support for the disciplined officers and for no other legitimate reason. 
 
The union designed and issued the pin in accordance with the provisions of the Provincial Agreement and it is our view that refusing to allow our members to wear the pin breaches Articles 2.8 (Union Insignia), 2.5 (No Discrimination for Union Activity) and 32.15 (Misuse of Managerial Authority), as well as Sections 2(b) and (d) – freedom of expression and association – under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
 
Immediately after this order was issued, BCGEU president Stephanie Smith filed a union policy grievance with the Provincial Director of BC Corrections – Adult Custody, Stephanie Macpherson, who we understand issued the directive to remove the pins. That grievance seeks the immediate rescission of Ms. Macpherson’s order, as well as damages for breach of the various articles of the Provincial Agreement and the Charter of Rights. In the interim, if ordered to remove the pin, you must do so. You can put the pin back on once in your personal clothes while leaving from or returning to the workplace.
 
You have the right to express your support for your colleagues who are affected by workplace violence.  The employer cannot limit your right to freely associate and to freely express your views through a pin such as that distributed today.  The union supports every one of its members in the execution of their duties and their right to due process and we will continue to do so.
 
Please watch for updates on our policy grievance.

In Solidarity,

Dean Purdy
BCGEU vice president
Component 1 - Corrections & Sheriff Services