Tag Archives: FB

FB bargaining: CBSA members on the front lines of COVID-19 deserve better

Photo of CBSA officer with orange epaulettes

PSAC/CIU Border Services members continue to play a pivotal role in Canada’s response to COVID-19, repatriating Canadians returning home from abroad and screening travellers at the border.

Despite their ongoing efforts, CBSA management still refuses to make meaningful progress towards a new collective agreement for more than 9,000 border services officers, investigators and headquarters staff.

During bargaining via teleconference May 12-14, our PSAC/CIU bargaining team made it clear that it is time the government addresses core workplace issues we’ve raised in negotiations concerning excessive discipline in CBSA workplaces, and crucial scheduling issues. The same is true with respect to parity with the broader law enforcement community, including much-needed pension reform.

Telework

We also raised our telework proposals with the employer. Given the reality that so many of our members are now teleworking during this crisis, it only stands to reason that our collective agreement finally addresses this issue for our non-uniformed members.

Technological change

Our team spoke to our proposals concerning technological change. We are looking for language in our collective agreement that would ensure meaningful consultation with PSAC-CIU on any changes, and that no bargaining unit jobs be lost due to technological change. The COVID-19 crisis has again shown that machines cannot do the job of trained CBSA officers.

Workplace protections

CBSA rejected our proposals for protections against surveillance in CBSA workplaces and when officers are asked to remove their tools. We explained that we are maintaining our position on these issues. New protections are needed against CBSA management in our collective agreement.

PSAC prepared to take legal action against CBSA

Recently, CBSA announced its plan to unilaterally change scheduling practices in Toronto, despite opposition from the union and our members. As a result, PSAC put Treasury Board/CBSA on notice this week that it will take legal action if such changes are implemented.

Our team also indicated that PSAC legal counsel will take action should CBSA proceed with changes to the escort and removal procedures that undermine our work and our rights under the collective agreement. We will uphold our rights.

Parity with law enforcement community

Our review of recent law enforcement wage settlements across Canada is ongoing – including our monitoring of wage talks for a first collective agreement for RCMP officers. Wage trends for 1st Class Constables at the RCMP are critical for comparative analysis to our group. Once the analysis is complete, we will commence wage discussions with the employer.

We also raised with management this week the issue of employees being provided T2200 forms for claiming home office expenses with the Canada Revenue Agency. The employer indicated that it is working on the issue.

We are in the process of setting additional dates with the employer.

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 throughout the bargaining process. To see other updates on Treasury Board bargaining, check out psacunion.ca/treasury-board.

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

FB bargaining: No evidence of ‘culture change’ at CBSA

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

The FB bargaining team continued to push for greater protections against harassment and abuse of authority by management during negotiations with Treasury Board/Canada Border Services Agency March 9-12.

Yet despite buzzwords like promoting inclusion, respectfulness and the elimination of harassment in CBSA’s 2020-2021 Department Plan – unveiled this week ­– there was little evidence of a tonal shift on these or other issues at the bargaining table.

Our team made proposals to enhance protections against abuse of authority and harassment, but management still hasn’t agreed to any of these changes. CBSA is taking the position that language in our contract should continue to be limited largely to sexual harassment. We can’t accept this, as we believe our collective agreement should address all forms of harassment, not just sexual harassment.

We also spoke to our proposed expansion of protections against CBSA management’s heavy-handedness in dealing with our members – including discipline and the arbitrary removal of defensive equipment. There will need to be new protections on these issues in our collective agreement.

There can be no ‘culture change’ without real action

The departmental plan also refers to a long-term reduction in CBSA staff. Our members are already short-staffed and spread thin; PSAC-CIU are prepared to fight any move to reduce staff.

Lastly, the plan speaks of ‘leveraging technology to enable flexibility’, yet CBSA refuses to reinstate fair and reasonable telework practices for Trade Compliance Officers and other non-uniformed personnel.

With respect to wages, our review of recent law enforcement wage settlements across Canada is ongoing – including our monitoring of contract talks for a first collective agreement for RCMP officers. Our position has always been that FB 3s should be matched to RCMP 1st class constables.  In past rounds of bargaining, we’ve always reached agreements with full retroactive wage increases for our members. We have no intention of doing otherwise this round.

We’ll be returning to the table in early May and are in discussions for additional dates into the summer.

We’ll provide updates as bargaining continues. To review the package of proposals that we’ve tabled, and those of the employer, click here.

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

FB Bargaining: Parties discuss discipline, harassment, pension reform

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

Our PSAC-CIU Bargaining Team for the FB group met with Treasury Board/CBSA the week of February 24 to continue negotiations for a new collective agreement.

Despite comments recently made by CBSA’s National President about the need for ‘culture change’ and ‘less jargon’, our Bargaining Team saw no evidence of this at the bargaining table.

According to the report recently issued by the Office of the Auditor General, harassment is a problem at CBSA. The Agency has publicly acknowledged this to be true. While the union has made proposals to enhance the collective agreement and has suggested changes that would protect members against abuse of authority and harassment, management has to date opposed the union’s proposed changes. This is unacceptable.

The language used in the proposals that aim to protect CIU members against CBSA management in the context of discipline reflects what has been agreed to by other employers.

Our fight regarding the wearing of name tags continues. We questioned the CBSA requirement that names must appear on the tags as opposed to a number. The PSAC also brought this issue before the Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal last week.

It’s time CBSA put its money where its mouth is on these issues and treated our members with respect.

CIU National President Jean-Pierre Fortin met with Minister Bill Blair this week and raised (among other things) the need for 25-and-out pension reform for FBs and the timely resolution of outstanding grievances. At the bargaining table, the FB Team also spoke to the union’s proposals on these matters and to other issues such as medical certificate reimbursement, leave with income averaging and contracting out protections.  On the latter issue, PSAC has filed a bad faith bargaining charge with the Federal Public Service Labour Relations Board over the contracting out of certain BSO escort duties at Pearson Airport in Toronto. We will uphold our rights.

We return to the table the week of March 9. We’ll be sure to provide updates as things progress. To review the package of proposals that we tabled and those of the employer, go to: psacunion.ca/fb

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

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

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.