Disgruntled B.C. prisoners looking to become unionized
Inmates at Mountain Institution in Agassiz are about to form the first prisoner labour union in Canada.
Once they have enough members signed up, organizers will take their proposal to the Labour Board of Canada in a bid to be certified.
The group’s lawyer Natalie Dunbar stressed that the inmates are not trying to create another prisoners' rights group, such as those that exist in the United States, but instead want a body to address prisoners' labour union issues. The average daily pay for inmates, for instance, is something like $15 a day and workplace accidents are not uncommon.
She says inmates in Canada want to work towards their own rehabilitation, and that similar attempts to create unions have taken place in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The British movement, which has long attracted the ire of the Prison Service, is the brainchild of Ben Gunn, a prisoner serving a life sentence at Her Majesty’s Prison Shepton Mallet.
But what clout would such an organization really have? How, for instance, would prisoners withhold their labour? Who'd be inconvenienced if a prisoner went on strike? And isn’t the point of being in prison the fact that you don't have the same rights as a normal citizen?
Should a convicted criminal still be able to lobby for additional labour rights? Or have they lost option by being incarcetated? What are your thoughts?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: Fed up | Mar 16, 2022 8:49:27 AM
How much is the average hotel and restaurant meal worth. This is outrageous. Maybe the government should be charging them rent and board. They broke the law and they knew going in what the consequences would be. Those are the chances you take. The rest of us have to pay our way, so should they.
Posted by: Quarmby | Mar 16, 2022 9:41:02 AM
Poor little, misunderstood dears...Piss off and serve your time! Rehabilitation...Bullshit! The rate of re offence is too high and it costs the (law abiding) taxpayers just shy of $100,000 per annum to house an inmate....who's being punished here? For most of these miscreants, the prison environment represents a better lifestyle than what they are capable of on the outside. Want to fix it? Shut down the gymns, squash courts, TV rooms and any other luxuries they presently enjoy. Then put a huge pile of rocks on one side of the prison yard and have the prisoners move them to the other side in 8 hours. After enjoying a sandwhich and glass of juice for lunch, they can spend another 8 hours moving the rocks back before dinner. Doing this for 16 hours a day, they should be too tired to be a threat to the guards or discuss a union. Also, it's probably not a place they would want to return to. Stop all this "new age" warm and fuzzy crap, dumped on us by the social engineers (the ones that studied home economics..read soc & psych... at University) and couldn't get into a real degree program. Make prison a place that nobody wants to be and maybe we could rid society of a few thousand criminal lawyers while we are at it.
Posted by: itsme | Mar 16, 2022 10:16:22 AM
They lost their rights when they were incarserated!
This has to be a joke..right??
Posted by: randykubbernus | Mar 16, 2022 10:19:43 AM
I think the sign of a enlightened society is how well it treats its prisoners . i guess we could create a gulag archipelago of Vancouver island somewhere out of sight out of mind sort of thing.Or maybe we could teach a trade or create consumer goods so when they do get out they can become useful members of society .The loss of labour rights at any level is not going to be beneficial to anyone in the long run.
Posted by: Tytlines | Mar 16, 2022 10:38:39 AM
I have been there ( in prison) Unless you have, your comments mean nothing.Being cut off from the outside is punishment eneough. Try it and we will see how you feel and how your comments are after a few years.
Posted by: Quarmby | Mar 16, 2022 10:52:28 AM
So Randy...are you a social worker, or just someone who still feels the "warm & fuzzy approach" works because you and your family have yet to be the victims of a serious crime? As far as an Island gulag...I like it...but we should use Baffin Island, not Vancouver Island! If you actually want crime to decrease (substantially), study the countries that don't mollycoddle their criminals and hand out severve penalties, as averse to the "enlightened societies" where the crime rate and rate of recidivism is very high. So, take off your Birkenstocks, finish your bowl of granola, put down your protest placard and sit your politically correct socialist ass in front of your computer...you can start your research with this link.. http://www.primetimecrime.com/Recent/Courts/Sun%20Repeat%20offender.htm ....
Posted by: Quarmby | Mar 16, 2022 11:02:11 AM
re; Tytlines...it's not supposed to be pleasant and no I haven't been in prison, due to the fact that I tend to obey the law, while you on the other hand, obviously don't. As for the worth of my comments...I paid for your stay and that of many others with the taxes I pay...so my comments are both valid and worth something. Hopefully you have learned from the experience and will never have to return. I sincerely wish you luck in your future endeavors.
Posted by: itsme | Mar 16, 2022 11:27:41 AM
Quarmby your reply to Tytlines gets a HUGE thumbs up!
Posted by: midia1 | Mar 16, 2022 12:26:01 PM
I'm sure most people are on the same page, but why are we constantly concerned with prisoner's rights....what about all the victims and heartache these people have caused to innocent citizens. When they commit a crime they give up their rights....rehabilation definitely..if possible but there is only one outcome if they become unionized..our taxes will take another leap upward....lets think about what we can do to improve life for our many seniors that need help and war vets that come back after serving their country and get forgotten about.
Posted by: ckk32 | Mar 16, 2022 1:42:08 PM
Quarmby...I could not agree more...your comments are right on the mark. We the taxpayers would end up paying union dues for the prisoners to put the guards though more BS...
Posted by: brad | Mar 16, 2022 3:57:15 PM
What are the tax payers rights? This is crazy, as far as I'm concerned they gave up there rights when they commited a crime.
Posted by: Upset tax payer, and Law abiding citizen | Mar 16, 2022 4:03:01 PM
You have to be kidding,
Who thinks up this shit, If you are in prison you are in prison. If you want livable wages then, maybe as citizens we should charge you Mr. Prisoner the going((Fair market rate) rate for your bed, three squares, medical care and 24hour supervision. (AKA prision gaurds). And while you are at, thier should be a repayment cost due for all prisoners for all the victims of your crime, at fair market value.
This would really bring a new meaning of paying your debt to society, I am sure that by the time you got out you would still owe Society a heck of lot more that you could even make, even at Union rates.
I read somewhere it cost on average close to 100,000 per year to house a inmate. I know of very few jobs that could be done in a confined location ( Prison) that would garner that type of income.
Whom ever thought this one up, is none to bright.
Posted by: Reg | Mar 16, 2022 4:18:54 PM
Well of course they're going to form a union--they are criminals and used to stealing other people's money after all!! Haha!! You would not believe some of the stuff my mom would tell me about the union she used to be part of.
Posted by: Jennifer | Mar 16, 2022 5:13:48 PM
are since we crazy or WHAT......like most of the other comments prisoners should have no rights! period.
Posted by: Chip | Mar 16, 2022 11:53:24 PM
Feel free to take a look at who's leading this piece of stupidity... a LAWYER. and a FEMALE LAWYER at that. Probably some molly wolly tree hugger who runs a sideline of little wellness groups on the weekend. Or maybe one of her boyfriends is in the slammer and she wants to make his life easier since her legal acumen and BS wasn't enough to keep him out of there in the first place. Next thing the'll ask for is a gold watch and a severance package or unemployment benefits if they ever leave prison and "lose their jobs". They should be happy they make enough to support their cigarette and chocolate bar habits. What else do they need ? 52" TVs in their cell ?
Posted by: Donna T | Mar 17, 2022 12:42:29 AM
to Tytlines: If "Being cut off from the outside is punishment enough", why do so many go back to prison time and time again? Maybe because they are too lazy to get a real job on the outside and support themselves.
Posted by: vito ginevra | Mar 17, 2022 12:53:34 AM
I think I have to go right now. I have to catch my eyeballs that rolled sooo far back, they came out of my ears! I thought in going to jail you lose rights not gain them.
Posted by: Joker | Mar 17, 2022 1:08:20 AM
Canada has become a stupid country and filled with full of mental canadians.
Posted by: DonE | Mar 17, 2022 2:10:22 AM
you already have voting rights(which you should not have) the premise of going to jail is for punishment which in turn you lose your rights,if you don"t like it be a good citizen and don"t do any crimes,and you may get lucky and get a real union "job".
Posted by: John | Mar 17, 2022 4:51:30 AM
Now I agree prisoners are still human beings and definitely need to be treated as such and if they are treated with respect they may see how being a cooperative citizen will be a better choice then committing crimes and not everyone in prison is a repeat offender and some do try to make a change and live and honest life and we should not discourage them from doing that.
They are also entitled to a safe and comfortable work envirnment with all of the proper equipment and training to do their job safely and effeciently and there should be no accidents due to lack of equipment or training or inproperly working machinery.
That being said a union is unnessary, all that is needed is the same thing that any good workplace has.