The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Alberta suggests it may discipline some jail guards who took part in strike

  • Print

EDMONTON - The Alberta government is suggesting it may discipline some jail guards who took part in an illegal strike, a move their union says would threaten labour peace.

Deputy solicitor general Tim Grant says there's a report that some guards who left their posts at the new Edmonton Remand Centre when the strike began may have put inmates, managers and other guards in danger.

"This incident will be investigated and dealt with appropriately," Grant wrote in a statement released Thursday.

Grant, a former Canadian Forces major-general who commanded troops in Afghanistan, did not say what "appropriately" means.

He said it is not the government's intention to seek retribution against guards who "just participated in the illegal strike."

Grant said he met with guards at the new $580-million facility twice on Wednesday to discuss what he called issues of concern and was to meet with staff again Thursday.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees said the threat of discipline breaks a promise of amnesty the government made that helped end the almost five-day strike at 10 correctional facilities across the province.

Premier Alison Redford confirmed that pledge, but also suggested it might not apply to all union members.

"We certainly did say to the union that we were going to make sure there were no acts of retribution," Redford said.

"I think the deputy minister of the solicitor general was very clear today ... that if there were acts that were committed that put people's safety at risk, than those needed to be dealt with at a management level."

Redford declined to say whether any of the guards could lose their jobs

Union president Guy Smith said the government's conduct is inflaming a volatile situation at the remand centre. He accused Grant of taunting guards at the jail instead of dealing with their safety concerns.

Smith said the union has filed an unfair labour practice complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board. Late Thursday, the board said it would appoint a mediator to look into the matter.

The union is seeking a cease-and-desist order against the government and a directive to order Grant to retract statements that he made to some guards, Smith said.

"We are doing everything we can to calm the waters and instead the government is throwing gas onto the fire. It is really dangerous and irresponsible," Smith said.

"The very first thing the deputy solicitor general should have dealt with is the health and safety concerns that drove members to take action in the first place. Instead, he has been inflaming raw emotions and threatening labour peace with his actions."

The union and government came to an agreement Tuesday night to end the strike and workers returned to their jobs Wednesday.

The province has said the strike by guards, along with other walkouts in their support by Justice Department staff such as sheriffs and court clerks, cost taxpayers $1.3 million because RCMP officers and municipal police had to staff jails and courthouses. The government has announced plans to recoup more than $6 million in financial losses.

The province has also filed a notice that it plans to stop deducting dues for the union for six months.

Unions depend on dues to finance most of their operations. The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees represents more than 22,000 government workers.

"It would have an impact on the operation of the union, but we will fight it in the courts where we can," Smith said.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Travel getaway tips

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010
  • Someone or thing is taking advantage of the inactivity at Kapyong Barracks,hundreds of Canada Geese-See Joe Bryksa’s goose a day for 30 days challenge- Day 15- May 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Canada send heavy military equipment to Ukraine?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google