Corrections officers at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre (HWDC) are in a holding pattern after they voted to reject an offer from their employer and wait for a response to a counter-offer they made late Tuesday morning.
It is not clear when officials from the jail will respond to the counter-offer.
Corrections officers voted Tuesday morning on an offer to meet a 10 a.m. deadline. They rejected an offer to resolve the week-old dispute at the jail.
Guards then presented a counter proposal late Tuesday morning.
It has been reported that the crux of the dispute is over discipline for workers who were off the job.
That followed a resumption of negotiations late Monday afternoon after a week-long health and safety dispute between officers and Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Jim Mitchell, a correction officer and representative for the Ontario Public Service Employee Union (OPSEU), told CBC Hamilton the Ministry presented an offer to the union at 7 p.m. Monday.
"I'm personally not happy with it," said Mitchell. "I can't speak for anyone else."
The dispute originated one week ago when a piece of metal went missing from a section on one of the floors. The section was searched, but the metal was not found.
When corrections officers asked to perform a level 2 search, one that covers the entire building with safety vests on, management denied the request, Mitchell said.
"Management says the vest will intimidate and instigate the offenders," Mitchell said.
But Mitchell said in his experience, this does not happen. He describes the vests as similar to what a mall security guard would wear on duty.
"It's not something they are unfamiliar with," he said.
Mitchell said all officers have been showing up to work as scheduled, but management has not allowed officers to work wearing their vests.
Mitchell said the union and fellow corrections officers don't consider this to be refusing to work, but the Ministry says that's "inaccurate."
"The union initiated a work refusal on Tuesday and the Ministry of Labour then ruled that there were no grounds for the work refusal. Staff then refused to take their posts," said Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services spokesperson Brent Ross.
The HWDC remains in lockdown until the dispute is over, said Ross.