The FB bargaining team has declared impasse in negotiations with Treasury Board and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) after the employer failed to make substantial progress towards addressing critical issues in negotiations for nearly 9,000 FB members.
The team has put forward reasonable proposals on key matters impacting FB members, but the employer has refused to address them in a meaningful way and is seeking serious and unacceptable concessions, forcing the team to break off negotiations.
Consistent with federal legislation, PSAC-CIU has filed for a Public Interest Commission (PIC) to provide recommendations on the next steps to reach a settlement. The FB bargaining team and union leaders will be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss next steps beyond filing for a PIC.
Every day, FB members put their lives on the line to protect Canadians; safeguarding our borders, inspecting dangerous goods and screening travellers for COVID-19 from coast to coast. Many FB members have contracted COVID-19 while performing their duties.
FB members have been without a contract for more than two years at a time when Canadians are relying on them more than ever to keep them safe. They deserve much better.
Despite their essential contributions, the federal government and CBSA still refuse to offer a fair contract that recognizes the value of their work and that brings them in line with law enforcement agencies across Canada.
Key issues at the table:
- Compensation: Ensure that FB members’ rights and compensation are brought fully in line with law enforcement agencies across Canada. Management has rejected this proposal. This is unacceptable, as it fails to address our wage disparity with the broader law enforcement community. Other federal public safety officers represented by PSAC – fisheries officers, park wardens and parole officers – all received better compensation packages than the framework that has been tabled for the FB group. CBSA also continues to insist on a practice where FB-2s are effectively used as a cheap labour force.
- Retirement reform: Commit to supporting early retirement to members of the FB bargaining unit after they’ve served for 25 years, similar to other federal law enforcement agencies. Treasury Board and CBSA have refused to address this issue.
- Workplace flexibility: Provide fair access to telework and leave with income averaging, particularly for non-uniform members. CBSA does not follow Treasury Board policy on these issues. Language is needed in the collective agreement to address these issues, as clearly CBSA cannot be trusted.
- New protections: Provide better protections from CBSA management in the context of discipline (PSI and SRI), surveillance, abuse of authority, whistleblowing, use of students and the reimbursement for medical certificates. Management is refusing to address these concerns.
- Hours of work: A paid meal period in line with other law enforcement agencies, as well as better rights for shift-working members such as enhanced seniority rights and paid firearm practice time. CBSA and Treasury Board have done nothing to address these issues.
Management is seeking serious concessions, including the watering down of Variable Shift Schedule Arrangement (VSSA) protections, the introduction of national VSSAs, shorter shift-change notice and making care and nurturing leave subject to operational requirements and a minimum of 12 weeks of leave. These concessions are unacceptable.
The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.