FB group: your rights in the workplace

November 3, 2023

Yes, you can wear union swag on the job

PSAC-CIU members have the right to wear union materials on the job. This is confirmed by two Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board decisions.

In 2018 the federal labour relations board found Canada Border Services Agency’s arbitrary ban on wearing orange “I support my bargaining team” shoelaces anywhere except boots to be an unfair labour practice and a violation of the collective agreement. The judgment guaranteed members’ rights to wear these shoelaces as hair ties or bracelets, should they choose to do so.

  • Full decision – 2018 FPSLREB 66, Public Service Alliance of Canada v. Treasury Board (Canada Border Services Agency)

In 2012, the board made a ruling that protected members’ rights to wear red “support the bargaining team” bracelets while on duty and rejected the claim that it was a violation of the uniform policy.

  • Full decision – 2012 PSLRB 21, Bartlett et al. v. Treasury Board (Canada Border Services Agency)

Know your rights 

Everything we do in the workplace to show CBSA we are paying attention to the issues and support our bargaining team – no matter how big or small – makes a difference as we push for a fair contract.

We have the right to promote and build our union in the workplace, and that includes the virtual workspace. Members have the right to be kept informed and take action during non-work time, before or after shifts and during paid and unpaid breaks and lunch periods.

You have the right to:

  • Talk about the union. You can talk to co-workers about the union at work, including through virtual meetings, as you would any other subject — and help keep everyone informed about PSAC’s activities.
  • Share information. You can sign petitions, sign up for events, and share bargaining-related information during non-working time. However, ensure that this is done via personal, non-work email accounts, rather than work email.
  • Wear the union message. You can wear buttons, lanyards, stickers, t-shirts, shoelaces, epaulettes, velcro patches and name tags and other items that communicate the union’s message.
  • Use a union virtual background and signature block. You can use a virtual background and signature blocks expressing support for your union and bargaining team (e.g., on Microsoft Teams/Zoom and Outlook).
  • Attend rallies and mobilization events. You can take part in in-person rallies or other union events during your paid breaks as well as before or after work.

If management interferes with these rights or discourages you from exercising them, alert a CIU Branch steward or executive member or your PSAC regional office right away.

Virtual backgrounds 

This article was first posted on the PSAC website.

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