Author Archives: Pierre St-Jacques

FB bargaining: Public Interest Commission dates set for May

Photo of BSO with the words "Bargaining: FB Group"

PSAC-CIU and the employer will appear before a Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearing May 10, 18 and 20. Both sides will present their arguments on the outstanding issues at the table, and then the Commission will prepare a report with its recommendations to reach a settlement.

Talks broke off in December when the FB bargaining team declared impasse over Treasury Board and Canada Border Services Agency’s refusal to address the key issues raised in negotiations.

How a Public Interest Commission works

By law, once impasse is reached, a Public Interest Commission is established to help the parties reach an agreement. The Commission is a panel of three – a chairperson agreed upon by both parties or, if no agreement is reached, appointed by the Labour Board, as well as nominees appointed by the union and management.

The union and the employer both submit briefs and explain their positions on the outstanding issues at a hearing. The Commission then provides its recommendations for both parties to reach an agreement. Unlike arbitration, the Commission’s recommendations are not binding.

Once the PIC releases its report, the FB bargaining team will meet to discuss the recommendations. Typically, bargaining teams and the employer return to the table to resume negotiations after the PIC.

Get the latest updates on bargaining throughout the PIC process by signing up for the PSAC’s newsletter, checking out the FB page or our website.

Take action to support FB members in bargaining

This article is also available on the PSAC website.

Government rushing Phoenix damages payment without tax ruling

PSAC banner illustrating a conversation

Send a letter to Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Minister Anita Anand that Phoenix damages shouldn’t be taxed.

The Liberal government has shamelessly chosen the 5th anniversary of the Phoenix pay system disaster to short-change thousands of PSAC members on their compensation for years of pay problems.

Even though PSAC is in the process of working with CRA to review the taxability of Phoenix damages, the federal government has confirmed that it intends to ignore these efforts and issue the up to $2,500 for our members, on March 3 – with taxes deducted. Treasury board provided no explanation for their actions.

“The government still has time to do the right thing,” said PSAC National President Chris Aylward.  “General damages should not be taxed, so we’re calling on key ministers to immediately intervene to fix this before payments are issued.”

The $2,500 settlement, even if taxed, is still greater than the five days of leave offered to PSAC members, but it represents a violation of the language we negotiated into the agreement. PSAC maintains that general damages paid to all employees for ‘stress, aggravation, pain and suffering’ and for the late implementation of collective agreements are non-taxable, as CRA has acknowledged other specific damages in the settlement should be treated.

“It’s a slap in the face to the tens of thousands of PSAC members who suffered years of pay problems, and then worked non-stop during this pandemic to deliver aid and benefits to millions of Canadians in crisis,” said PSAC National President Chris Aylward.

PSAC will pursue every legal route to secure the full compensation that our members are entitled to. This includes tax challenges that would retroactively see our members reimbursed should the payments be issued as planned on March 3, but our goal remains to avoid any time-consuming and complex tax disputes for our members.

“Phoenix short-changed PSAC members for years – the last thing they deserve is for the government to short-change them again,” added Aylward.

PSAC will continue to work to resolve this problem and updates will follow in the coming days.

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

FB bargaining: Chair named for Public Interest Commission

Photo of BSO with the words "Bargaining: FB Group"

For the first time since the FB group was created in 2007, PSAC and Treasury Board have agreed on a chair for the Public Interest Commission that will be charged with providing recommendations in our contract dispute with Treasury Board and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

By law, once impasse is reached, a Public Interest Commission (PIC) is established to help the parties reach an agreement. The Commission is a panel of three – a chairperson agreed upon by both parties or, if no agreement is reached, appointed by the Labour Board, as well as nominees appointed by the union and management. The union and the employer submit briefs and explain their positions on the outstanding issues at a hearing with the Commission. The Commission then makes a report with recommendations to reach a settlement. Unlike arbitration, the Commission’s recommendations are not binding.

Impasse reached in December

Talks broke off in December when our team declared impasse over Treasury Board/CBSA’s refusal to address the key issues we’ve raised in negotiations. For more information on the matters in dispute, visit the FB page.

Now that the chair has been named and the panel established, we are in the process of setting dates to conduct a hearing with the PIC. We’ll continue to provide updates throughout the PIC process.

Take action to support FB members in bargaining

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

National Bargaining Conference – PA, SV, TC and EB bargaining units

CIU flag with the word bargaining

The National Bargaining Conference for the PA, SV, TC and EB bargaining units will take place from April 26 to 30, 2021. The event will be virtual.

The above-noted collective agreements will expire between June and August 2021 and the PSAC anticipates serving notice to bargain in the spring and early summer of 2021. The PSAC Centre has informed CIU that it is entitled to six (6) delegates to the national conference from amongst the different Occupational Groups represented by CIU. Delegate entitlement is broken down as follows:

  • CIU is entitled to three (3) delegates for the Program Administration (PA) Bargaining Unit which includes: AS, CM, CR, DA, IS, OE, PM, ST, and WP Occupational Groups;
  • CIU is also entitled to one (1) delegate (from the membership at large) from each of the following Bargaining Units: SV (incl. FR, GL, GS, HP, HS, LI, PR(S), SC), TC (incl. DD, EG, GT, PI, PY, TI) and EB (incl. ED, EU, LS)

Branches are asked to submit, via their Branch President, the names of candidates they wish to be considered for these conference delegate spots. The candidates must be members of the bargaining unit, must hold a Union Office (including shop steward), and will otherwise be committed and engaged in the Union. Branch Presidents are asked to send candidate names and their full contact information to joey.dunphy@ciu-sdi.ca no later than Friday, February 19, 2021.

Source: National Office Memorandum NO-12-2020 from Joey Dunphy, 3rd CIU National Vice-President, and VP Responsible for Collective Bargaining.

Black History Month 2021: Time to turn the page on systemic anti-Black racism

PSAC Black History Month banner

Black History Month is a time to reflect, honour and celebrate the many contributions made by Black people and all people of Caribbean and African heritage. It is a time to recognize the important role Black people and people of Caribbean and African heritage have played in the progress and development of Canada, as well as their impact on its history and the labour movement.

It is a myth that Canada is a model of diversity and inclusion. The reality is that Canadian society has achieved neither equity nor equality for Black Canadians. Black people and people of Caribbean and African heritage have a unique history and experience in Canada that is often ignored or seen through a colonizer’s lens. The voices of Black activists are rarely heard because of the rampant racism that keeps their voices silent.

Last year, everyday life came to a screeching halt due to the pandemic. Shortly thereafter, the world witnessed the brutal murder of George Floyd, a Black man killed deliberately, and violently, by the police. Finally, there was a recognition of entrenched systemic anti-Black racism, not only in law enforcement but throughout our society. For many who experience anti-Black racism on a regular basis, they understand that it was not an isolated incident, but rather a pattern going back to the time of slavery. The killing of George Floyd is yet another example of the failure of society to value Black lives.

George Floyd’s death mobilized people across the world to action. People want to discuss and tackle issues of systemic anti-Black racism and we are witnessing the creation and organization of panel discussions, workshops, demonstrations, media reports, the forming of diversity and inclusion workplace committees, the collection of disaggregated data, development of anti-racism strategies and so on. For example, the Canadian federal government has recently made a commitment to addressing systemic racism in the federal public service and society. But let us not forget that the reality is that anti-Black racism is prevalent at all levels of society. Dismantling anti-Black racism requires foundational societal and attitudinal changes, not to mention on-going individual learning to undo unconscious bias. There must be condemnation and accountability of those who resist efforts of anti-Black racism initiatives and promote white supremacy.

There are many Black, Caribbean or African heritage voices calling for justice, equity and equality in our workplaces and communities. Black voices must be heard, Black contributions must be recognized, and Black lives must be valued. It is time to turn the page on systemic anti-Black racism because Black Lives Matter.

PSAC invites you to celebrate Black accomplishments and hear Black voices during this important month. Black activists and Black history will be highlighted on our website throughout the month of February. Join the conversation and be the change!

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