A Sigh Of Relief

Following an intense final round of negotiations that lasted more than 36 hours, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) reached a tentative agreement with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) late Friday, August 6.

Chris Aylward, PSAC national president, said: “We are relieved that CBSA and the government finally stepped up to address the most important issues for our members to avoid a prolonged labour dispute. The agreement is a testament to the incredible hard work and dedication of our bargaining team who worked through the night to reach a deal.”

And Aylward added: “We also couldn’t have done it without the tremendous support of our members, who put intense pressure on the government at every airport and border crossing across the country today.”

The agreement ended the work-to-rule strike action that had begun Aug. 6 and ensured the flow of border traffic returned to normal as the government began welcoming fully vaccinated U.S. travellers today (Aug. 9).

Mark Weber, CIU national president, said that: “CBSA employees have been on the front lines of the pandemic since day one, protecting our borders and keeping Canadians safe. But they weren’t receiving the support they needed from the government. Finally – after three years of negotiations – we’ve resolved longstanding issues that will go a long way towards making CBSA a better, safer place to work for our members.”

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

  • A four-year agreement from 2018-2022 with an average annual increase of over 2% per year
  • Better protections against excessive discipline in the workplace
  • The creation of a National Joint Committee to tackle workplace culture problems at CBSA
  • A paid meal allowance for uniformed members, similar to what most Canadian law enforcement agencies provide
  • A commitment letter to advance the work toward the introduction of early retirement benefits for CBSA employees
  • A better grievance-handling process
  • Domestic violence leave
  • Other leave and allowance improvements