Tag Archives: bargaining

PSAC threatens legal action over changes to inland enforcement work

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

PSAC has warned the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) that the union may be pursuing legal action after the employer announced — in the middle of contract negotiations — that it intends to change its policy on international escorts for inland enforcement officers. The proposed changes, which would take effect on July 15, would force officers to take annual leave under certain circumstances.

PSAC has put the employer on notice that, if CBSA proceeds with these changes, the union will consult legal counsel about filing a complaint against CBSA with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board.

Labour law clearly states that all terms and conditions of employment are frozen during collective bargaining and until such time as a new agreement is reached, legal strike action is called, or an arbitration award is issued.

In contract talks with Treasury Board and CBSA, our FB bargaining team has repeatedly highlighted work done by inland enforcement officers. We have been clear that we are opposed to the contracting out of escort work done by our officers, and we have presented proposals concerning international escorts.

PSAC and CIU opposes CBSA’s attempt to push changes concerning inland enforcement officers while we discuss their working conditions at the bargaining table. We will continue to stand up for the rights of our members.

PSAC-CIU and our FB bargaining team will continue to update members on this issue and the ongoing strike votes taking place across the country. Please reach out your PSAC union representative or CIU branch president with any questions.

This article has also been posted on the PSAC website.

FB strike votes and strike preparation webinars

Image discussion FB PSAC-AFPC

The FB group will be conducting an electronic strike vote across the country starting June 16. Support your bargaining team at our upcoming strike votes to make sure we can return to the bargaining table in a position to win a fair contract.

Select your region for details:

Please note that more may be scheduled after the 28th. Please prioritizing registering for a session in your region. After attending one of these sessions, you will gain access to information on how to vote. It will involve a 10-15-minute presentation by a member of the bargaining team, followed by an optional Q&A session. You must have your attendance recorded at one of the 10-15 minute presentation portions or your vote will not be counted.

Strike Preparation Webinars

Date Time Language
June 15 7pm – 8:30pm EST English
June 16 12pm – 1:30 EST French
June 17 12pm – 1:30pm EST English
June 21 5:30pm – 7pm EST French

These optional webinars have been set up to give FB members a chance to learn more about strikes, strike preparation, and ask any questions you may have. More may be added to the schedule depending on registrations.

Any questions you may have about strike votes or strike action can be answered at the virtual vote information sessions and strike preparation courses that will take place before you vote. However, to provide you with as much information as possible ahead of time, PSAC has compiled key questions and answers for you.

Related content

This article has also been posted on the PSAC website.

FB strike votes: Frequently Asked Questions

Image discussion FB PSAC-AFPC

The Border Services (FB) bargaining unit consists of over 9,000 PSAC-CIU members at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), responsible for protecting Canada’s borders and the planning, development, delivery, inspection and control of people and goods entering Canada.

FB members have been without a contract for nearly three years, with our collective agreement having expired in June 2018. At the table, our bargaining team has been fighting for key issues, including parity with other law enforcement personnel across Canada, better protections against harassment and discrimination, and a fair remote work policy for our non-uniformed members.

CBSA’s refusal to budge on these core demands led the FB bargaining team to declare impasse in December. We’ve submitted and presented our dispute to the Public Interest Commission and are awaiting their recommendation. In the meantime, we’re holding a vote seeking a strike mandate from the membership to give our bargaining team the leverage we need to call a strike if necessary.

Any questions you may have about strike votes or strike action can be answered at the virtual vote information sessions and strike preparation courses that will take place before you vote. However, to provide you with as much information as possible ahead of time, PSAC has compiled key questions and answers for you.

Related content

This article has also been posted on the PSAC website.

FB bargaining team: We need your vote to get the contract we all deserve

Image discussion FB PSAC-AFPC

Like you, we are all CBSA employees. Together, we have over 100 years of diligent service with the federal government. We care deeply about the work that we do, and we care about our coworkers. That’s why we got involved in the union in the first place, and that’s why we’re reaching out to you today about the most important decision we’ll all need to make this round of bargaining.

For over two years, we’ve been in negotiations for a new collective agreement with Treasury Board and CBSA. In the middle of negotiations, Canada and the rest of the world were engulfed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We – PSAC-CIU members at CBSA – have been on the front lines of that pandemic every single day, putting our health at risk to keep Canadians safe and our borders secure. From Programs Officers interpreting Orders in Council and Inland Enforcement Officers conducting removals to BSOs inspecting PPE and everyone in between, we’ve all played a critical part in protecting Canadians.

The importance of our work is undeniable. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has publicly recognized our work during the pandemic on more than one occasion, while CBSA has frequently commended the work that we do to keep our borders secure.

Unfortunately, this praise seems to simply be empty words, because we haven’t seen that same recognition at the bargaining table.

When we make the case that we deserve parity with other hard-working law enforcement personnel across Canada – from wages to paid meal periods to issues related to firearms and other tools – we are told no. When we raise the dire need for pension reform at CBSA, we see no movement whatsoever from the employer. And with respect to our non-uniformed colleagues, who have been faithfully serving Canadians while working remotely throughout the pandemic, the employer still refuses to negotiate telework provisions into our collective agreement.

We’re also grappling with a toxic workplace at CBSA where we all work under the constant threat of heavy-handed discipline and abuse of authority. That’s why we need new protections in the context of discipline, harassment and whistleblowing in our collective agreement, but our proposals to protect employees have been denied.

Instead, CBSA is pushing for concessions – introducing a 48-hour shift change notice clause (instead of the current seven days), massive changes to scheduling and VSSA protections and changes to family care leave that would make it inaccessible to most of us and at the discretion of managers

The employer wants our jobs to matter more than our families when all they do is treat us like we’re all replaceable. We can’t stand for that, and we believe it’s time to make our stand.

Last month, we made our submissions to the Public Interest Commission, and they’ll provide their recommendations on our outstanding bargaining demands.

➡️  Read the full PIC submission

In the meantime, we’re fed up with the disrespect we’re all being shown by CBSA and the government, and we need to show them we’re ready to stand up to them to get the contract we deserve.

That’s why we – along with the PSAC National President and the CIU National Executive – have made the decision to conduct a vote to seek a strike mandate from the membership.

We’re asking you to vote YES to a strike mandate so that we can send a clear message to CBSA. Your support will give our bargaining team the leverage we need to call a strike if necessary.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be giving you all the details you need about the process, how you can stay informed and take part in the vote. But we wanted to be the first to tell you – directly from the bargaining team – that this is our time to make real and meaningful changes at CBSA.

Stay tuned for more updates. If have any questions, please be sure to follow up with your CIU
Branch President
 or contact your local PSAC regional office.

We hope you’ll stand in solidarity with us and all CBSA staff so that we can reach a fair agreement with CBSA and Treasury Board. We’re all in this together.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Ross
Newfoundland/Labrador
St. John’s Airport

Joey Dunphy
New Brunswick
Edmunston POE

Claude Bouchard
Quebec Eastern Townships
St Armand POE

Ken Turner
Windsor Ontario
Ambassador Bridge

Frances Baroutoglou
Toronto Postal Operations

Charles Khoury
Headquarters – Ottawa

Mat Ashworth 
Northern Ontario
Rainy River POE

Michael Aessie
Manitoba
Commercial office

Leanne Hughes
British Columbia
Victoria Airport

Related content

This article has also been posted on the PSAC website.

FB bargaining: Team wraps up case at Public Interest Commission

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

The FB bargaining team presented PSAC’s arguments for compensation parity with other law enforcement agencies across Canada at Public Interest Commission hearings May 10, 18, and 20. The team also made the case – repeatedly – that there are serious problems with harassment and abuse of authority at CBSA that need to be addressed.

As per the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act, the FB bargaining team filed for conciliation earlier this year when it became clear that the employer was not prepared to seriously address outstanding issues, including parity with other federal enforcement agencies.

The FB team also raised the need for new rights for employees, particularly as they pertain to discipline, hours of work and telework for non-uniform personnel. Our team was clear: CBSA management cannot be trusted, and FB members need better protections.

Download: PSAC’s PIC brief

Employer position

The employer responded to the team’s wage position by stating that it is inappropriate to compare members of the FB bargaining unit – including Inland Enforcement, Investigations, Intelligence and Border Services Officers – with other large law enforcement organizations such as municipal, provincial and federal police forces. The employer has indicated that there are no recruitment or retention issues at CBSA. The employer also asserted that FB-2s work as ‘trainees’, that management heavy-handedness is not a problem at CBSA and that telework protections for non-uniformed employees should not be included in the collective agreement.

FB members deserve parity

The FB team fiercely opposed all the employer’s claims. From skeleton staffing at ports of entry to officers being asked to handout recruitment flyers to the public at certain ports, clearly there are recruitment and retention problems at CBSA. As for comparator groups, our position is that a majority of PSAC/CIU members at CBSA are armed law enforcement personnel, and that compensation and other rights need to reflect this reality.

FB members have been on the front lines of the pandemic for more than 14 months. Our members have worked to keep Canada’s borders secure and Canadians safe, and deserve to be treated with respect by the employer.

Next steps

The PIC will now provide its recommendation based on the hearings.  Unlike arbitration, the recommendation is non-binding. While the legislation provides for the PIC to issue its recommendation within 30 days of the hearing, the chair may extend that timeline.

National town halls

As we prepare for the PIC recommendation, it’s important to get up to speed on the key issues at the table and learn more about the next steps in our mobilization efforts.

PSAC-CIU will be holding additional virtual town hall where you’ll hear from Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) National President Jean-Pierre Fortin and PSAC national negotiator Morgan Gay who will provide important information and insight into the bargaining process, the Public Interest Commission, and our key demands at the table. You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions or raise concerns at the end of the meeting.

French FB town hall  
May 26, 6 p.m. EST
Register now 

English FB town hall  
May 27, 6 p.m. EDT
Register now 

This article has also been posted on the PSAC website.