Frontier workers send strike notice to government, industrial action due to start on Friday: union

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2021 1:58 PM EDT

Last updated Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at 8:08 p.m. EDT

About 9,000 Canadians Frontier On Friday, service agency workers are preparing to launch nationwide actions and say travelers should expect long lines and long delays at frontier level crossings and airports.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada and its Customs and Immigration Union, which represent the workers, said they served the government with strike notice on Tuesday and are now preparing their workers to step up auctions.

If a contract is not reached by 6 a.m. Friday, the union said its members would begin a series of “sweeping” actions at Canadian airports, frontiers, commercial shipping ports, postal facilities and head offices.

“We really hoped we wouldn’t be forced to go on strike, but we’ve exhausted all other avenues to reach a fair contract with the government,” Chris Aylward, the union’s national president, said in a statement.

“Treasury Board and CBSA have made it clear that they are not prepared to address critical CBSA workplace issues at the bargaining table.

The Treasury Board of Canada said the federal government asked the federal labor relations body on Tuesday to appoint a mediator. He said he has confirmed that one will be named.

“The Government of Canada has great respect for frontier social service officers and the important work they do and remains committed to reaching agreements with all bargaining agents that are fair for employees, reflective of today’s economic and fiscal environment and reasonable for Canadian taxpayers,” reads -on in a press release from the Treasury Board of Canada.

“The Government of Canada has reached agreements covering 95 per cent of the federally unionized workforce for this round of negotiations and is satisfied that an offer has been presented that provides a reasonable basis on which to reach an agreement.

Ninety percent from the front line frontier the workers have been identified as essential so that they continue to provide services, if there is a strike, the CBSA said in an email.

The CBSA “will respond quickly to any work intervention or disruption in order to maintain the safety and security of our frontierensure compliance with our laws and maintain the frontier open to legitimate travelers and goods,” spokeswoman Jacqueline Callin said.

The dispute comes as Canada prepares to allow fully vaccinated Americans to visit without having to quarantine from August 9 and will open the country frontiers to travelers from other countries with the required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine on September 7.

PSAC-CIU represents 5,500 frontier service officers, 2,000 headquarters employees and other workers in Canada Post facilities and in domestic service jobs employed by the CBSA and the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Union members have been without a contract for about three years because they and their employers have been unable to agree on better protections for staff that the union says will bring them into line with the other law enforcement personnel across Canada and solve a “toxic” workplace. culture.

Union members voted last month to strike on Friday if the two sides failed to reach an agreement, prompting their employers to agree to return to the bargaining table.

The union said a public interest commission formed when the two sides could not reach consensus outlined a series of measures in late July that the two sides should explore in the future.

These measures, PSAC-CIU said, include initiating talks on a paid pensionable meal period for union members, paid firearms practice time, a fitness allowance for officers and new protections for disciplined employees.

The union also said the report encouraged the parties to negotiate expanded seniority rights for the schedule, parameters around student work, language ensuring agents aren’t required to work alone, and streamlining procedures. grievance resolution.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 4, 2021.

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