Author Archives: Pierre St-Jacques

FB strike action on hold, mediation extended to June 12: A message from the CIU National President

Dear members,

On Friday June 7, 2024, moments before unleashing country-wide strike action, the union and employer agreed to extend mediation for the FB group until Wednesday, June 12, in order to continue working toward a fair contract for our members.

As a result, strike activities that were set to begin at 4 p.m. ET on June 7 have been put on hold while mediation continues.

I know many of you were poised to act and I wish to express my profound gratitude to all for answering the call and being ready to take the necessary steps to fight for your rights and support our FB bargaining team. Your readiness to act did not go unnoticed.

In the lead-up to the June 7 strike deadline, we witnessed a multiplicity of attempts by CBSA to undermine this solidarity through threats and misinformation so as to weaken the bonds that join us as union members. Your willingness to take action and report to a picket line showed how futile these attempts really were.

As our FB bargaining team keeps working towards a fair and equitable deal for our members through mediation, I encourage you to continue supporting each other, along with those who represent you at the table, in the same way as you have done until now.

The FB group could not wish for a better bargaining team, whose dedicated members, shouldered by excellent union staff, have spent nearly two years working hard on your behalf to lay the groundwork for a fair deal. Our team is only as strong as the members they represent and they could not ask for a better group of union activists.

I know that many of you will have questions. Due to the highly sensitive nature of ongoing negotiations, updates will be sparse, and it may be days before new information is communicated to you.

I thank you for your understanding and commend you once again for your readiness to act. United we advance the working conditions for all.

Thank you and in solidarity,

Mark Weber
CIU National President

Strike action for more than 9,000 CBSA workers on hold as mediation continues until June 12

bargaining-FB-négos

Strike action for more than 9,000 Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) workers across the country is on hold as the union and the government agreed to extend negotiations with the assistance of a mediator until June 12 to reach a fair contract for workers.

“We’ve paused all strike action as talks continue to reach a fair contract for workers,” said Sharon DeSousa, PSAC National President. “Our members keep our borders moving, goods flowing and our families safe, and deserve a contract that delivers fair wages, equitable retirement and makes CBSA a better place to work.”

All strike activities have been postponed as mediation continues into next week. A new strike deadline will be set in the coming days, and job action remains possible for CBSA workers if an agreement cannot be reached at the table.

“I’m hopeful we can reach a deal and avoid disruptions at Canada’s borders,” said Mark Weber, Customs and Immigration Union National President. “Our members are essential – protecting our borders, preventing auto theft and stopping illegal drugs and firearms from entering Canada – and they deserve a fair contract that treats them with respect and dignity in line with other law enforcement agencies across the country.”

Due to the sensitive nature of ongoing negotiations, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union will not be providing media interviews during mediation.

This article was first posted on the PSAC website.

Pending FB strike: A message from the National President regarding voluntary overtime

Anyone who has worked for CBSA will know how entrenched overtime is within the Agency. For the employer, it is the preferred tool for managing chronic staffing shortages. For many of our members, it provides an important percentage of their total annual compensation. Under normal circumstances, our members want to work overtime and the employer is happy to oblige — indeed, most grievances filed regarding overtime are about not getting enough of it.

But these are not normal times.

Within a few short days, as early as Thursday June 6, the FB bargaining unit will be in a legal strike position. Most of our FB members, however, are designated essential and will be on the job. While that means they will have a legal obligation to fulfill the duties of their position, this comes with absolutely no obligation to volunteer for overtime.

In fact, starting today and until a tentative agreement has been secured, we are asking all of our FB members to think carefully before volunteering to work extra hours. It’s one thing to be ordered to work overtime by management, who certainly has the right to issue such an order. It’s quite another thing altogether to volunteer to work overtime for an employer who systematically seeks to undermine our collective rights by pushing for concessions at the table, round after round.

Every member of the FB bargaining team will tell you that the employer has yet to agree to any of our key demands, and has certainly not volunteered to do so. Not on retirement, not on wages, not on telework, not on job security, and certainly not on detoxifying the workplace. Why then volunteer to help management deal with scheduling gaps, when CBSA won’t voluntarily address a single gap in our collective agreement?

Strikes are a last resort that succeed through solidarity and sacrifice. To get a fair deal, we all need to be in this together.

Thank you and in solidarity,

Mark Weber
CIU National President

National Public Service Week Boycott

Photo rally

To all CIU members:

National Public Service Week, set to take place this year from June 9 to June 15, is intended as an opportunity for the federal government to recognize the contributions of federal public service workers.

Given the state of things at the FB bargaining table, the abysmal record of CBSA management towards our members, and the overall tenor of the relationship between the federal government and federal public service unions in the wake of the recent telework debacle, it is safe to say that any such recognition would ring hollow.

Recognition should not be a matter of mere words but of actions, and the employer’s current actions towards our members speak volumes.

At the FB table, they have pushed the process to the point of impasse, going through the motions of an unnecessary long and meandering exercise to avoid giving our FB members a fair contract, not even bothering with putting forward a proper wage offer.

Regarding equitable retirement options for the FB group, despite repeated calls to do what’s right and propose the necessary legislative changes that would make retirement after 25 years of service possible, the federal government continues to drag its feet.

On the telework front, affecting a large swath of our members, Treasury Board has signaled it has zero intention of engaging in meaningful work with unions to create a framework that would work for workers, not against them.

The strong strike mandate secured by our FB members on May 23 sends a clear message to the employer that we are mobilized and ready. As the employer’s churlish approach to bargaining continues to drive us towards a repeat of August 6, 2021, it goes without saying that National Public Service Week activities organized by the employer should be summarily ignored. Respect trumps recognition, and the absence of respect from CBSA for our members is palpable.

Instead, I encourage members to find different ways of celebrating our collective strength. Where rallies or other union activities are set to take place, I invite members from all units to support FB mobilization efforts to show the employer that we are ready to act as one.

Finally, on a personal note, I continue to be immensely proud of representing the CIU membership. Your sustained dedication and ability to push back against one of the worst employers of the federal public service is truly remarkable.

Thank you and in solidarity,

Mark Weber
CIU National President

Letter to CBSA President: CIU representatives to cease interacting with the employer

Photo of CIU flag

In light of the strike mandate secured by the FB members of the Customs and Immigration Union on May 23, 2024, and as per the letter sent to CBSA President Erin O’Gorman on May 27, 2024, CIU representatives at all levels are to cease interacting with the employer regarding union-related matters, for all units, effective immediately.

Exceptions are to be made for attending meetings related to workplace violence and harassment complaints, for reporting imminent health and safety hazards or other situations involving a health and safety concern, and for dealing with other issues of an immediate and urgent nature.

Local representatives with grievance consultations set to take place should contact their Branch President for more information.

Normal communications between the union and the employer will resume once the ongoing bargaining dispute is resolved.