Tag Archives: CIP

FB bargaining: Chair named for Public Interest Commission

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

For the first time since the FB group was created in 2007, PSAC and Treasury Board have agreed on a chair for the Public Interest Commission that will be charged with providing recommendations in our contract dispute with Treasury Board and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

By law, once impasse is reached, a Public Interest Commission (PIC) is established to help the parties reach an agreement. The Commission is a panel of three – a chairperson agreed upon by both parties or, if no agreement is reached, appointed by the Labour Board, as well as 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 Commission. The Commission then makes a report with recommendations to reach a settlement. Unlike arbitration, the Commission’s recommendations are not binding.

Impasse reached in December

Talks broke off in December when our team declared impasse over Treasury Board/CBSA’s refusal to address the key issues we’ve raised in negotiations. For more information on the matters in dispute, visit the FB page.

Now that the chair has been named and the panel established, we are in the process of setting dates to conduct a hearing with the PIC. We’ll continue to provide updates throughout the PIC process.

Take action to support FB members in bargaining

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

FB bargaining: Talks break off with Treasury Board/CBSA

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

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.

What happens when impasse is declared?

Serving Canadians

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.

No concessions

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.

Take action to support FB members in bargaining – Click here to send a letter!

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

Bargaining: TC group PIC report identifies wage gaps, allowances and occupational group structure as places for movement at the table

Bargaining

A positive Public Interest Commission (PIC) report has been issued for the TC group recommending the employer move on several important issues raised by your bargaining team. The report names a number of TC’s priorities such as closing wage gaps, parity with CFIA for EGs, increased allowances, and movement on the archaic classification system as areas where the employer can improve its offer. Though the report does not recommend everything in our proposals, its support of key issues demonstrates the union’s demands have been fair and reasonable.

Wage Gaps

Similar to the PA PIC report, TC’s PIC report points to general wage increases and special adjustments as being a major issue that has halted negotiations. It recommends the employer address wage rates if it expects to reach a tentative agreement with the TC group. PSAC expects a fair wage offer that does not require our members to buy allowances for some members out of the overall wage increases for all.

Parity with CFIA for EG Group

The PIC report acknowledged the wage discrepancy between those classified as EGs in the TC group and their counterparts at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). In 2018, your union signed an MOU with Treasury Board stating that there is no difference between EGs at CFIA and at those in the TC group. However, there is still a 3.3% salary gap between those different EGs. The PIC recommends that this gap be addressed.

Allowances

The PIC report recommends allowances for the following groups:

  • Transportation Inspectors at Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board
  • Fishery Officers
  • Environmental Enforcement and Wildlife Officers
  • EGs and TIs at fleet maintenance facilities and Workshop 202
  • Search and Rescue Coordinators and Hover Craft Crew members at Canadian Coast Guard
  • Labour Affairs Officers, and
  • Technical Inspectors at Measurement Canada

The report does not recommend specific amounts, nor suggests movement for all groups the union has tabled allowances for. However, PSAC welcomes the recommendation for movement on these specific allowances.

Occupational Group Structure

The PIC also recognized the importance of implementing new job evaluation standards. The employer has already missed several deadlines to put in place a new structure and classification system. Though the employer wants another extension until June 2021, the PIC recommends that the employer offer more and urges the employer to have new standards in place before the next round of bargaining. PSAC is seeking substantial penalties, payable from the beginning of 2020, for the employer failing to have the new standards ready for this round of negotiations.

Next steps

Although National President Chris Aylward has authorized strike votes for the TC bargaining unit, all strike votes are currently suspended until March 30. At that time the union will re-evaluate whether to continue the suspension or resume the strike votes.

Despite the suspension of votes, PSAC will continue to bargain for all units currently in negotiations.

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

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.