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Courtrooms feeling slowdown amid Day 2 of correctional officer information pickets

THUNDER BAY – Local correctional officers continue to show they can have a significant impact on the timeliness of court proceedings.
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For the second straight day local correctional officers held demonstrations that impeded the transport of prisoners to the Thunder Bay Courthouse. On Monday they delayed an OPP transport vehicle outside the courthouse. (Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com)

THUNDER BAY – Local correctional officers continue to show they can have a significant impact on the timeliness of court proceedings.

For the second straight day local correctional officers held protests, which impeded the ability of law enforcement agencies to transport prisoners to the Thunder Bay Courthouse for their scheduled appearances.

The delay in transporting the inmates on Tuesday hindered proceedings in set date court, one of the busiest criminal courtrooms.

The first of the in-custody defendants, who have to be brought up in limited numbers by court officers, did not appear in the courtroom until noon, much later than the typical 10 a.m. appearance.

Correctional officers are just one group within the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which has 115,000 members working without a contract following the expiration of the last one on Dec. 31.

Local union leadership, which represents workers at both the Thunder Bay District Jail and the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre, warned during widespread demonstrations on Monday that court could “grind to a halt” if they were to strike.

Negotiations between OPSEU and the Ontario government resumed on Monday. There is no timeline for if or when there might be a strike.