Tag Archives: bargaining

CIU members rally at Peace Arch border crossing

Peace Arch

With the employer still refusing to budge on meaningful improvements, our members are ramping up pressure to be treated fairly: After rallying in Saint John, N.B. at the beginning of the year, FB members are now mobilizing in B.C., where they gathered at the Peace Arch border crossing on February 5.

CIU-PSAC members are calling on the government to treat Border Services Officers with the respect they deserve by withdrawing concessions being put forward at the bargaining table.

What we want

  • We’re asking for a fair wage increase that keeps up with inflation, better protections for members from CBSA management, and improved work-life balance.
  • We’re asking the employer to support pension reform to allow retirement after 25 years of service without penalty, as is the case for other law enforcement agencies.

For a full list of our bargaining demands, please see this page.

For the latest FB bargaining updates, make sure to keep an eye on our FB bargaining section.

Peace Arch

Photo: Patrick Bragg

Public Interest Commission provides its recommendations for EB group

Bargaining

PSAC has now received the Public Interest Commission’s (PIC) recommendations on issues that are specific to the Education and Library Science (EB) group. The PIC’s recommendations on issues common to all Treasury Board groups will be made available when the Commission submits its recommendations for the Program and Administrative Services (PA) group.

While the PIC recommendations are non-binding, which means the union and/or the employer can accept or reject the recommendations, we are pleased to note that the PIC agreed with some of the union’s proposals specific to the EB group.

Wage parity with comparable jobs

While the PIC did not fully address all of our key demands around wage parity and adjustments, it recognized that the employer’s wage offer was inadequate for the two parties to reach an agreement.

New national rate of pay for teachers who work for 12 months (ED-EST)

The PIC also recommended that the new national rate of pay for 12-month teachers (ED-EST) be included in the new collective agreement. The PIC pointed out that a joint committee composed of both the employer and union representatives had already reached an agreement on a new national rate of pay and that this agreement should be implemented.

Allowance for union members who teach Indigenous languages

The PIC agreed with PSAC’s position that teachers who provide First Nation language instruction should be entitled to the specialization allowance. The Commission “was struck” by the fact that the union’s proposal aligns with the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and with the federal government’s Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act.

Unfortunately, the PIC didn’t address many of PSAC’s proposals and even agreed to some of the employer’s concessions, such as on Education Leave Without Pay and Career Development. Other examples can be read in the full document on the PIC’s recommendations. In order to reach the fair deal that our members deserve, PSAC will continue to mobilize its membership through increased workplace action, up to and including a strike, until a fair settlement is reached. Stay up to date with the latest on bargaining by signing up for email updates.

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

SV bargaining: Government still focused on pushing concessions

Bargaining

PSAC’s SV bargaining team and government representatives were in three days of hearings at a Public Interest Commission (PIC) from January 22 to 24. Unfortunately, the government once again squandered the opportunity to address key member concerns and doubled down on a range of previously presented concessions that the union already rejected.

You can download PSAC’s SV PIC submission here and the government’s submission here.

PSAC presents improvements to contract

The bargaining team used the PIC opportunity to continue presenting proposals that address member concerns, including:

  • fair economic increases that keep up with inflation;
  • market adjustments to ensure members earn comparable wages to those of operational services workers external to the federal public service (e.g., firefighters, tradespersons, ships’ crews, and heating, power, and water treatment operators);
  • improvement to group-specific allowances;
  • various measures to improve work-life balance.

The government rejected all these proposals.

Instead, they doubled down of the following concession proposals: 

Reduced call back provisions

The government wants to reduce call back pay by giving itself the right to request that call back assignments be performed at home. In such situations, employees would no longer earn a minimum of three hours at the overtime rate of pay for each call back and instead be paid only for one hour at straight time or actual hours at time and a half, whichever is the greater.

PSAC rejects this proposal as it will create the expectation that problems in the workplace—for instance, those involving malfunctioning vessels, heating plants, building or freezer alarms, or water treatment systems—be addressed remotely. This would be dangerous and allow the government to forgo ‘eyes on the ground’ in high-risk situations in exchange for a shortsighted reduction in wage costs.

Weakening of Correctional Services Specific Duty Allowance (CSSDA)

The government’s proposal opens the door to excluding those who work outside of Correctional Service of Canada penitentiaries from receiving the CSSDA. The union does not accept this proposal as it denies the CSSDA to many members who interact with or are in proximity to offenders—for example, those working at facilities that operate offender training programs.

PSAC believes this change is unnecessary and will prevent workers that currently qualify for and receive the CSSDA from continuing to receive it.

Reduced notice for scheduling changes

The government is insisting on reducing the notice of schedule changes to just 48 hours. Currently, FRs are provided with a minimum of 96 hours-notice of schedule changes and those in the GL, GS, HP and HS groups are provided with seven days- notice. Under the proposed changes, members will only earn compensation at the rate of time-and-a-half if they are advised of new schedules within a 48-hour window.

Moreover, for those in the Ships’ Crew (SC) group covered by Annex E (Lay-day work system), whose schedules are normally set a year in advance and are given at least fourteen days (14) notice of any schedule change, the government wants to reduce the notice period to a mere 48 hours. Under this scheme, a worker could be out to sea for 28 days with little notice.

The union strongly rejects this regressive proposal, which would severely interfere with the work-life balance of many members and provide no compensation in situations where workers are required to significantly alter personal obligations, commitments, and plans.

Weakening of Inmate Training Differential Allowance Plan

The government proposed a single percentage rate of 7% for the allowance. This will result in a reduction in allowance for a third of members currently receiving the ITD.

PSAC rejects this proposal as it would amount to a major concession for many members. Furthermore, moving from the current tiered rate to single percentage rate would prevent the ITDA from recognizing the varying levels of responsibilities, skills, and stress associated with inmate training held by current recipients of the allowance. The existing provisions recognizes the number of offenders that a worker is responsible for and the associated work (i.e., training plans, training assessment, incident reports).

New cap on travel costs for firefighters

The government is seeking a targeted kilometric cap for firefighters in situations where it requires a firefighter to travel back in for an overtime shift from off-duty status. No other classification or occupation group faces such limitations.

The union will not accept this proposal. The government’s attempt to shift the burden of costs associated with overtime on to workers is unreasonable.

The PIC will likely issue its recommendations by late winter.

PSAC will continue to mobilize its membership through increased workplace action, up to and including a strike, until a fair settlement is reached. Stay up to date with the latest on bargaining by signing up for email updates.

What is a Public Interest Commission?

Under the law that governs contract negotiations in the federal public service, once impasse is reached at the bargaining table, a PIC is established to help the parties reach an agreement. The PIC is a panel of three people – a chairperson appointed by the Labour Board and 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 PIC. The PIC chairperson also has the option of convening additional talks. The PIC then issues a report with recommendations for settlement. The recommendations are not binding. Once the PIC releases its report, the union’s bargaining team will meet to discuss the recommendations.

Traditionally, following this, PSAC and government representatives have returned to the table to resume negotiations. We expect the SV group PIC report to be issued in winter 2020.

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

FB bargaining: No trust in CBSA; team rejects concessions to hours of work

Photo of a border services officer with the words bargaining - FB group

The FB bargaining team continued their push to make Canada Border Services Agency a better place to work during talks with Treasury Board/CBSA the week of January 20, but the employer still refuses to budge on any meaningful improvements.

Our team highlighted issues around:

Name tags

The employer still insists that officers must display their names on name tags. Our team reiterated that this practice puts officers at risk and is unacceptable.

Medical notes

Our bargaining team firmly opposes the need for medical notes when employees are sick. CBSA shouldn’t be asking employees to provide medical notes, and if the Agency wants one provided, they should reimburse members for it.

Paid meal period

The employer rejected our proposal for a paid meal period, but we’re maintaining our position. Officers have to tool-up and tool-down for lunch; otherwise they have to wear their tools during lunch. Given this reality, meal periods should be paid like other law enforcement agencies.
Paid time for firearm practice: Our team is seeking to have paid firearm practice time provided to officers under the collective agreement equivalent to two shifts per year.

Seniority and work location

There are significant problems with the way management assigns officers to new locations. Across Canada, there are officers who are looking to work in different parts of the country. But right now, management passes over senior officers for these assignments and even places new hires in locations where union members are looking to work. We are seeking a fair and transparent process where officers can exercise their seniority if they wish to change districts or regions.

Telework

We again raised the issue of telework for our non-uniformed members. Our team does not understand why CBSA chiefs and superintendents get their telework approved regularly, while non-frontline staff who require an accommodation are denied telework. This is yet another example of the double standard at CBSA, where management gets preferential treatment over employees. We want language in the contract to address this issue.

VSSAs

CBSA is proposing that VSSAs should no longer be negotiated, but rather run through a ‘consultation’ process with our union. All too often at CBSA, ‘consultation’ means ‘impose’. We told CBSA “No” and rejected their proposal. Our team doesn’t trust CBSA management with our hours of work.

We also discussed student issues, the dog hander allowance and reiterated our position concerning pension reform.

To review the package of proposals that we tabled as well as those of the employer, visit: psacunion.ca/fb-group. We’ll continue to provide updates during our next bargaining session the week of February 23. To see other updates on Treasury Board bargaining, check out psacunion.ca/treasury-board.

We stand for law enforcement

Together as FBs, we’ve achieved incredible victories over the years. PSAC is the largest union in the federal public service, and one of the largest public sector unions in the country. No other union has more experience in bargaining and representation within the federal public service than PSAC and CIU.

  • We successfully won the right for Border Services Officers to be armed in 2006.
  • Since 2007, PSAC-CIU successfully negotiated a 48% increase in compensation for frontline BSO, including a 17.5% raise in 2018.
  • We won significant new rights for shift workers, including protections in the context of VSSA negotiations and seniority rights.

Standing together, we will continue to work together and hold the CBSA’s feet to the fire to ensure we can continue to make groundbreaking gains for FB members.

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

FB bargaining team returns to the table next week

Photo of a border services officer with the words bargaining - FB group

The CIU-PSAC FB bargaining team is returning to the table the week of January 20. With our members rallying in the last month to show their support, our team is keen to meet with the employer and continue pushing for a fair and equitable contract. Stay tuned – we’ll be sure to provide you with updates as the bargaining process continues!