Author Archives: Pierre St-Jacques

1996: Joint Police & Peace Officers Memorial Service

Photo of BSO with the word Victories superimposed

Our fourth historical vignette highlights an important step in border officers being recognized as part of the law enforcement community. 

As a founding member of the Canadian Peace Officers Memorial Association, CIU (then CEUDA) was instrumental in ensuring that border officers be present on Parliament Hill to pay homage to those who paid the ultimate price.

A memorial service had first been held in 1977 to honour police and federal correctional officers. By 1994, thanks to union involvement, a separate ceremony was also held specifically for Peace Officers. Finally, in 1996, for the first time in history, Canadian Police Officers and Peace Officers held a joint memorial service on Parliament Hill to honour those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Today, we can be proud of our Sisters and Brothers who, every year, stand beside their law enforcement colleagues to honour their fallen.

Two border services officers, with text on the creation of the join police and peace officers memorial service

Click for full-size version.

For more union victories, see this page, and follow us on social media using #CIUvictories.

Treasury Board bargaining: April talks will be Trudeau’s last chance to deliver on commitment to public service workers

Bargaining

PSAC bargaining teams representing 90,000 members under Treasury Board only saw small movement from the government at talks last week despite a rapidly closing window for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to deliver on his commitment to public service workers.

After some small positive steps at talks in February, PSAC was hopeful that the government would come to the March meeting ready to make major progress.

“Unfortunately, the government once again squandered the opportunity to make major progress towards a fair contract,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC’s National President. “Since coming into office, Trudeau committed to restoring the government’s respect for the public service. Those are nice words, but reaching a fair contract before the federal election in October is the only way he can deliver on that promise to PSAC members.”

Since bargaining began almost ten months ago, PSAC’s teams have presented reasonable proposals to improve work-life balance, reduce precarious contract work, close wage gaps with the private sector, and ensure fair economic increases.

Yet, for most of that time, the government has repeatedly delayed progress and resorted to making insulting offers, such as the November proposal for a two year wage freeze. Though the government has since moved away from that proposal, it continues to insist on an annual wage increase of only 1%, around half the rate of inflation.

“Trudeau’s window to deliver on his commitment to support public service workers and the vital services they provide Canadians is closing, but we’re willing to give him one more chance in April,” added Aylward. “We’re going to ramp our mobilization between now and then to make sure the government understands that they are running a high risk if they don’t give PSAC members a fair deal before the election.”

“PSAC members are still waiting to get paid properly under Phoenix, and they’re still waiting, after three years, to be compensated for all the hardships they’ve endured because of these countless pay problems. They shouldn’t also have to wait for the fair working conditions they deserve.”

Last week’s sessions were held between March 19 and 21 and covered four bargaining units under Treasury Board: Program & Administrative Services (PA), Technical Services (TC)Operations Services (SV), and Education & Library Science (EB).

The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.

2006: Arming Initiative

Photo of BSO with the word Victories superimposed

The third entry in our series celebrating our union milestones takes a look at a major turning point for border officers.

The arming of officers did not happen overnight. CIU (then CEUDA) had to lobby for years to convince the government that arming border officers was as important as providing protective vests and general safety equipment.

Pressure on the employer reached a peak in the early 2000s. The government’s position at the time was that border officers should let the police deal with dangerous situations, going so far as to compare the role of border officers to that of bank tellers. Ill-equipped to defend themselves and perform their duties, border officers were understandably frustrated.

Through work refusals, coast-to-coast consultations, and in-depth studies, the union wore out the employer’s objections and found support with the public. Finally, in 2006, the arming initiative became reality, with then 1st National VP Jean-Pierre Fortin (now National President) noting in 2007 that it represented “the largest cultural shift facing border services and [CIU] in our collective pasts.”

Close-up of a BSO with a gun, with text explaining how the union fought for its members to be armed

Click for full-size version.

For more union victories, see this page, and follow us on social media using #CIUvictories.

Treasury Board bargaining: Trudeau’s window to deliver on commitment to public service workers is closing

Bargaining

The clock is ticking for the Trudeau Liberals as PSAC’s four bargaining teams representing 90,000 workers covered by Treasury Board resume negotiations with the government between March 19 and 21.

Since bargaining began nine months ago, PSAC’s teams have presented proposals to improve work-life balance, reduce precarious contract work, close wage gaps with the private sector, and ensure fair economic increases. Yet, for most of that time, the government has repeatedly delayed progress, and in late November made an insulting offer that would freeze wages for two years.

While the last session of talks in February yielded a few smalls steps in the right direction, far more significant progress must be achieved this month. Reaching a fair agreement before the federal election in October is the only way Justin Trudeau can deliver on his promises to PSAC members.

In a 2015 letter to public service workers, Trudeau committed to restoring the government’s “trust in — and respect for — our public servants”. Moreover, Trudeau has recognized that public service workers “continue to show unwavering professionalism as they face unacceptable hardships caused by the implementation of the Phoenix pay system.”

“Over the last four years, Trudeau has said all the right things about the public service,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President. “But actions speak louder than words, and PSAC members are still waiting for him to deliver on his commitment to them. They’re still waiting to get paid properly under Phoenix and they’re still waiting to be compensated for all the hardships they’ve endured because of these countless pay problems. They shouldn’t also have to wait for the fair working conditions they deserve.”

“The window of opportunity for Trudeau to deliver on his commitment to support public service workers and the vital services they provide Canadians is closing, but it’s still there. This means delivering a fair deal for our members before the next election – and we won’t let his government off the hook.”

These sessions cover four bargaining units under Treasury Board: Program & Administrative Services (PA), Technical Services (TC), Operations Services (SV), and Education & Library Science (EB).

The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.