Author Archives: Pierre St-Jacques

As Phoenix Looms, Liberals Propose 2-Year Wage Freeze for Federal Workers

Bargaining

Government moves from delays to insults in major round of bargaining with PSAC. After months of delays, PSAC bargaining teams representing 90,000 federal public service workers were stunned when the Liberal government tabled a series of offensive counter-proposals in the latest negotiations between the union and Treasury Board.

The Government proposed a wage increase of only 0.75% per year for 4 years, along with no retroactive payments. In addition, they requested the new agreement only take effect 365 days after it is signed by both parties. Aside from wage increases that would not even come close to matching inflation, such a long implementation period added to the time spent bargaining would produce a virtual two-year wage freeze for PSAC members.

“It’s outrageous that our members have been waiting three years to get paid correctly under Phoenix—and the Trudeau government won’t even come to the table with a serious offer. After what our members have been through, and what they continue to go through, the Government’s offer can only be described as an insult – it’s shameful.

PSAC members have been frustrated at the lack of movement in almost six months of bargaining, but that pales in comparison to what they’re feeling now. Prime Minister Trudeau promised a new relationship with public service workers – one of respect – but that couldn’t be further from what happened this week. This is a real betrayal.

The good news is that there’s no way PSAC is going to let the Liberal government get away with this. Every day PSAC members show up to work not even knowing if they’re going to get paid properly – they deserve working conditions that reflect that dedication, as well as the value of their work. We won’t back down until they get it.” – Chris Aylward, PSAC National President.

Negotiations from November 27 to 29 will cover table-specific proposals for the four bargaining groups: Program & Administrative Services (PA)Technical Services (TC)Operations Services (SV), and Education & Library Science (EB); and issues common to all teams will be covered December 4 to 6.

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

PA, EB, TC & SV Groups: Treasury Board Bargaining Resumes Amid Delays and Growing Frustration

Bargaining

In the continued wake of the Phoenix pay system disaster, bargaining teams representing nearly 90,000 federal public service workers are back at the bargaining table with Treasury Board this week and next.

PSAC’s bargaining teams have been repeatedly disappointed by the continued lack of response and meaningful engagement by Treasury Board. In July, PSAC came to the table with clear proposals and a strong mandate to move forward. Unfortunately, the Government has yet to engage substantially with PSAC’s various proposals, and have not offered counter proposals.

“​It’s outrageous that our members have been waiting three years to get paid correctly under Phoenix—they shouldn’t have to also wait to get the fair working conditions they deserve,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President. “They’re very frustrated at the lack of movement in almost six months since we first sat down to bargain with the Liberal government.”

From November 27 to 29 the negotiations will cover table-specific proposals for the four bargaining groups: Program & Administrative Services (PA)Technical Services (TC)Operations Services (SV), and Education & Library Science (EB); and issues common to all teams will be covered December 4 to 6.

“For these upcoming meetings, we’re demanding the government come to the table ready to make significant progress,” concluded Aylward.

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

Border Services Bargaining to Begin in January

Bargaining

With bargaining input gathered from every CIU branch across Canada and our FB Bargaining Team now elected and in place, PSAC has proposed dates in January to the Treasury Board to commence negotiations for a new FB collective agreement. An update will be provided once dates are confirmed. We look forward to getting back to the bargaining table and making CBSA a better place to work.

November 21, 2018 update: Last Friday, PSAC and Treasury Board confirmed that the parties will exchange proposals and commence negotiations for a new collective agreement for the Border Services (FB) group the week of January 7th, 2019.

Stay up to date with bargaining news by visiting the PSAC’s Border Services bargaining webpage, or sign up to receive the PSAC’s e-News.

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

Reduction of Hours of Operation at Ports of Entry: Customs and Immigration Union Expresses Concerns

CIU Flag / Drapeau du SDI

Press Release – Ottawa, November 12, 2018 – The National President of the Customs and Immigration Union which represents 10,000 members, most of whom are front line border services and inland immigration enforcement officers, has raised concerns regarding the recent announcement that effective November 26, 2018, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will be reducing the hours of operation at nine ports of entry in New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba and British-Columbia.

CIU National President Jean-Pierre Fortin provided details of the looming closures, outlining the larger issue of CBSA’s continuing reduction of operational capabilities:

“Hours of operation will be reduced in the future at the Fosterville, Milltown, Morses Line, South Junction, Tolstoi, Piney, Snowflake, Carson and Nelway ports of entry. In August 2017, CIU had expressed concerns regarding a similar reduction in hours of operation in New Brunswick and had predicted that CBSA would expand this practice to other ports of entry. This month’s reduction in hours is clearly a continuation of what began last year. The only explanation provided by CBSA is that this is being done to harmonize Canada’s hours of operation with those at US facilities. No consideration is being given to the bordering communities who will be impacted by the reduced hours of service, or to the overall safety of Canadians.”

On the latter point, Fortin highlighted the clear contradiction between reducing hours of operation at ports of entry and the Government of Canada’s stated aim of wanting to increase security at the border.

“In a recent press release, the Government of Canada announced additional funding for CBSA to invest in new resources and technology that will stop the flow of illegal firearms into Canada. While we welcome the additional funding, we know that technology cannot replace seasoned officers. It is baffling to us that on the one hand CBSA would put in place new technology to stop the flow of illegal goods, while on the other reduce the hours of operation at nine ports of entry. The recent weapons seizure in Fort Erie should serve to remind us all – the country’s first line of defence must not only be well-equipped, it must be properly staffed.”

Fortin further calls upon the Canadian Government and CBSA to use the increased funding to invest in additional border officers and expand their role to ensure the integrity of the Canadian border. He added that if there was no other alternative to reducing hours of operation, border officers should at the very least have the authority to travel between ports of entry and monitor the ports after hours.

“While Americans benefit from a dedicated border patrol that can maintain their country’s security even when a port of entry is closed, Canadians do not.

Current events show that the border never sleeps. A dedicated CBSA border patrol would go a long way towards maintaining our border’s integrity. Whether we’re talking about asylum seekers crossing outside of designated ports of entry or the trafficking of dangerous goods such as firearms and drugs, border officers need to be able to react quickly and efficiently. A dedicated border patrol would see border officers better equipped to perform their duties to protect, and hence ensure the safety, security and well-being of Canadians.”

The Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) is a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), which represents Canada’s Front-Line Customs and Immigration Officers. CIU also represents Investigation, Intelligence and Trade Customs Officers, Immigration Inland Enforcement and Hearings Officers, as well as all support staff – all of whom work at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Update: Accommodations for Use of Force Limitations

Arming Initiative Featured Image, depicting the hand of a BSO on a holstered firearm

On October 24, 2018, the CIU National Executive, Brother Star and Sister Amy Kishek, PSAC Legal Officer, met with the CBSA for a G-1 consultation meeting. The Employer advised that following Phase I, it has regularized 78 accommodations which are now permanent placements. These Employees have already received their letters of offer. Continue reading