Every two weeks, we’re releasing a short vignette showcasing a victory or an event of importance in the history of our union. Here is the second entry in the series.
At the turn of the millennium, after years of pressure by the union, the government had yet to provide protective vests in suitable numbers to its Customs Officers. Through lobbying in the 90s, CIU (then CEUDA) had succeeded in pressuring the employer to start providing bullet-proof vests to its officers. By 1999, however, the government had only acquired a mere 400 such vests Canada-wide, at times going so far in some ports as distributing them by lottery to officers.
Faced with an employer unwilling to provide adequate protective vests to all officers in a timely fashion, the union launched a massive awareness campaign, attracting the attention of various American police associations. Ultimately, in well-publicized displays of solidarity, the union received hundreds of vests in donation from these associations.
Shamed into doing the right thing, the government relented and announced in early 2000 that budget would be allocated to ensure that all border officers would be provided with a vest. Today, thanks to pressure from CIU and its members, soft body armour is part of the standard equipment available to all Border Officers.
For more union victories, see this page, and follow us on social media using #CIUvictories.