Referee Decision for Correctional Officer and Supervisor Benchmark

The Classification Referee has delivered her decision regarding the Correctional Officer (CO) and Correctional Supervisor (CS) benchmark and reference jobs, confirming both positions at their existing grid levels 18 and 24. With the ongoing 1 grid TMA, the positions will continue to be paid at grid 19 and 25 respectively. 
The referee’s decision reflects the technical application of the Public Service Job Evaluation Plan (the Plan) as compared to other agreed to benchmark and reference jobs. While some Plan factors had already been agreed through bargaining and the lengthy classification review process, the union did not agree with the employer’s rating for factors 1 (job knowledge) and 5 (work assignments) for each position. The union argued that your work had evolved and expanded, with greater responsibility for both positions, including through rotational duties, all of which should provide greater credit in job knowledge and work assignments. We put forward significant evidence about this, however we were unable to meet the onus to change the ratings that were proposed by the employer. Essentially, the referee agreed with the employer that although there have been changes in the environmental working conditions, the main job duties have not changed enough to warrant changes in the disputed factors. This is still something the Union disagrees with.
The referee notes the updated job descriptions for both positions take into account all expanded duties and rotational aspects of the work. She concludes, however, that the employer’s rationales already credit each position’s highest typical duties. For the CO, this includes all case management, program facilitation and counselling duties. For the CS, this includes all operational supervisory functions, including during the night shift. She specifically determines that the employer’s overall rating already takes into account the CS’s in-charge responsibility during the night shift. She also notes that both positions are limited from receiving higher credit in their freedom to act, as measured in the Plan, due to having to follow prescribed and established procedures, rules and instructions.
The referee comments that her findings should not be taken as failing to place intrinsic value on the contributions made by BC Corrections staff. She acknowledges “the challenges encountered by highly qualified people carrying out difficult work under adverse and sometimes violent working conditions, as so aptly demonstrated by the evidence placed before me.”  A referees decision on classification appeals does not take into consideration workload increase as the plan does not provide for such.     
Your Component 1 Executive is extremely disappointed in the outcome of this decision and based on the arbitrators decision has concluded that the current method and system that rates our jobs is not working. That is why your Component 1 Executive has been advocating to either replace or amend the current Public Service Job Evaluation Plan (PSJEP) so that it better reflects the work that Law Enforcement occupations like Corrections & Sheriffs do. We believe there needs to be a new process in place at the next round of bargaining that represents all workers fairly and the current PSJEP does not.
Those of us that work in Corrections all know how much the job has changed and how our workplace has become more  now than ever a violent and unpredictable place to work.
The Union will now look at alternative ways to boost wages through the term of our current collective agreement such as MOU #22 recruitment & retention (TMA’s) as well as the letter from the last round of bargaining that gives us the ability to negotiate another TMA if the recruitment & retention problem us due to wages. 
The full decision is available for review here.

Download PDF of notice here.
The union thanks everyone who provided evidence and reviewed submissions, and in particular the focus group of Dean Purdy, Brian Campbell and Chris Jack who provided valuable information and input throughout the lengthy process.
In solidarity,
Dean Purdy, Vice President, Component 1
Jennifer Jordan, Staff Representative