March 7, 2011 Globe and Mail
Inmates at a B.C. prison are in the final stages of applying to create a
labour union, saying the historic event would be a first in Canada.
Their lawyer Natalie Dunbar says organizers at Mountain Institution in
Agassiz are trying to sign up members for ConFederation, Canadian
Prisoners' Labour Union, Local 001.
But Ms. Dunbar says prisoners are facing resistance from administrators.
She says the inmates are not trying to create another prisoners' rights
group but want the right to assemble as any other workers to vote about
forming a union that will deal with their various complaints.
Ms. Dunbar says there's a lack of resources at federal institutions to
address issues that plague prison populations as a workforce.
She says inmates in Canada want to haul prison life nearer the 21st
century so they can work towards their own rehabilitation, and that
similar attempts to create unions have taken place in the United States
and the United Kingdom.