Ontario's correctional workers are looking for some respect from the province.

They wore the word 'Respect' at work on Tuesday to express their displeasure with the government's response to contract talks.

That was supposed to be the day an arbitration hearing was to take place.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union says government negotiators cancelled two weeks ago, saying they needed more time to prepare.

OPSEU president J.P. Hornick calls it shameful and disrespectful.

"The employer showed up to two mediation dates in April and July completely unprepared, with no proposals. Now they’re stalling arbitration for months. These tactics show this government’s complete lack of respect for correctional and youth justice workers and lack of regard for safety in Ontario’s correctional institutions," says Hornick.

Workers have been without a new contract since the end of 2021.

OPSEU identifies low wages and working conditions among the key issues.

The union says they are the reasons behind the staffing shortages in corrections and youth justice settings.

"Our members are angry, and workplaces are reaching the boiling point,” says Janet Laverty, chair of OPSEU's Correctional Bargaining Team.

"Showing up empty-handed and stalling the bargaining process is the biggest act of disrespect this government could pull. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and resources."

The arbitration hearing is now expected to take place in November.