Archive for the 'Parks Canada' Category

The National Bargaining Conference for Parks Canada members takes place February 6 – 9, 2011 in Calgary.

The conference is to prepare for the next round of bargaining by;

  • Reviewing bargaining proposals
  • Establishing bargaining priorities
  • Discussing strategy
  • Electing a negotiating team

This is a call out to PSAC equity activists (Aboriginal, Racialized Worker, Member with disability, GLBT), Regional Women’s Committee member, and Youth activists (30 or younger) who work at Parks Canada to participate in the Bargaining Conference.

Visit the national website to register online. Note the application deadline is January 21st.

PSAC has filed a policy grievance against a Treasury Board directive to prevent employees from posting the union’s pension petition in the workplace.

The directive, issued Feb. 26, ordered managers to:

  • deny all requests to post petition sheets
  • deny all requests to distribute the petition electronically
  • prevent employees who serve the public from wearing stickers

“We consider this Directive to be censoring and an outright violation of union members’ freedom of expression and association,” said John Gordon.

Did your employer take down PSAC petitions or otherwise interfere in the pension campaign? Let us know.

The grievance alleges the directive violates Use of employer facilities and No discrimination provisions in the following collective agreements:

  • Program and Administrative Services;
  • Operational Services;
  • Technical Services;
  • Education and Library Science;
  • Border Services;
  • Canada Revenue Agency;
  • Parks; and
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“We need to hear from PSAC members in these workplaces to determine the extent of the damage the employer caused with this directive,” Gordon said. “If there was an incident in your workplace, let us know.”

National parks are more vulnerable to abuse now that the federal government has cut more than three-quarters of its park wardens, ex-wardens say.

As well, the downsizing from more than 400 wardens to about 60 in Canada’s 42 national parks has created uncertainty and distrust in the service as it gears up to celebrate its 100th year.

The new arrangement signals the end of what retired warden Scott Ward calls “the generalist warden” who took care of resource management, public safety and backcountry patrols.

“No two ways about it, I think that the parks are going to be exploited,” says Dale Portman, president of the Park Warden Service Alumni Society of Alberta. Portman, a warden of almost three decades who now lives in Cochrane, believes the new warden force will be too small to monitor ATVs, poaching and helicopter activity in remote wilderness areas. “It’s kind of like the Calgary city police losing three-quarters of their law enforcement capability but still saying that they’ll still be able to deal with the crime.”

Kathy Calvert, another retired warden who spent 25 years in the service, believes parks will have more illegal fishing, hunting and perhaps even logging. “There’s not going to be anybody there to even know when it’s happening,” says Calvert, who’s married to Portman. “The absence will be palpable.”

About 300 former wardens have been demoted, rebranded as resource management and public safety personnel. They’re responsible for jobs like trail maintenance, ecological studies and fire management.

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The Parks agreement has been signed. The provisions in the new collective agreement are now in effect, and the employer has 150 days to implement the new rates of pay and issue cheques for retroactive pay reflecting the wage increases going back to August5, 2007.

The four-year collective agreement, which expires on August 4, 2011, (pdf) finally eliminates regional rates of pay and will begin a national pay grid on August 5, 2009, for the GL and GS groups. It provides for across-the-board annual wage increases of 2.3 per cent for the first year from 2007 to 2008 and 1.5 per cent for each of the remaining three years. (pdf) The agreement also strengthens the Workforce Adjustment provisions and requires the government to review the use of contractors and consultants in order to avoid layoffs.

Ottawa Members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada working for Parks Canada have voted in favour of a new collective agreement that contain no concessions.

The union achieved some significant breakthroughs with the new agreement, including:

  • The establishment of a national rate of pay for members who are in the General Labour and Trades (GL) and General Services (GS) classifications. This was a high priority bargaining demand for the union and the victory concludes a 41-year battle to remove regional rates of pay for trades people in the federal public service.
  • The agreement also contain language that requires the government to review the use of contractors and consultants in order to avoid layoffs through strengthened workforce adjustment appendix provisions.

The four-year collective agreement, which expires on August 4, 2011, provides for across-the-board annual wage increases of 2.3 per cent for the first year from 2007 to 2008 and 1.5 per cent for each of the remaining three years.

It was a long and difficult round of negotiations for our negotiating team and our members in a less than ideal economic environment, says PSAC regional executive vice-president for Atlantic Jeannie Baldwin. But our union members’ 18 months of hard work, perseverance and strong solidarity paid off with better working conditions, not just for today’s members, but for future generations of Parks workers.

A clear majority of our members have voted to accept the tentative agreement, says PSAC national president John Gordon. We see this as a vote of confidence for the bargaining team and the union.

psac fancy pantsA ratification vote has been called for members working at Parks Canada, here are the dates and times

  • Monday January 12th – Tofino/Best Western Tin Wis 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday January 13th – Sidney/Travelodge 4-6 p.m.
  • Wednesday January 14th – Juan de fuca Library 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Thursday January 15th – Library Square, location TBA 12 noon
  • Thursday January 15th – Fort Langley, location TBA 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 4th – Revelstoke – Legion 7 p.m.

Votes for members at Revelstoke and Fort Langley are being scheduled, check back for details.

The PSAC reached a tentative agreement with Parks Canada Agency on Tuesday, November25. The proposed collective agreement covers the 3000 4500 PSAC members who work for Parks Canada in a variety of fields and occupations. Details to be announced. Parks Canada Agency is a separate employer under the Public Service Labour Relations Act. Bargaining began in May, 2007.

FORT LANGLEY, BC – Workers at Parks Canada and their supporters are calling on people who are participating in the 150th anniversary celebrations to consider respect for heritage workers as an important part of preserving and protecting the world’s natural and cultural heritage.

“Workers built, operate and maintain historic and heritage sites such as Fort Langley,” says the Regional Vice-President BC of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Kay Sinclair. “It only makes sense then that respect for heritage includes respect for heritage workers.”

Bearing the slogan, “Respect for workers is respect for heritage,” Parks Canada workers and their supporters will host a reception for members of the interested public and employees who work in and around Fort Langley. They hope to raise awareness about the important role of heritage workers and the need to ensure that governments committed to world heritage maintain the proper working conditions for workers to do their critical jobs.


You’re Invited!

Welcome to Douglas Day festivities. This is the 150th anniversary of Governor James Douglas proclaiming the territory a British colony and he did it right here in Fort Langley.

  • When: Wednesday November 19, 2008, 4PM to 8PM
  • Where: Best Western Langley Inn, 5978 Glover Road Langley, British Columbia

Parks Canada employees working for Canadian Heritage work daily at Fort Langley to ensure these types of heritage events and sites are celebrated. We wish to invite you to celebrate Canadian heritage and meet the people who protect, preserve and communicate the significance of Canadas natural and cultural heritage sites for the enrichment of visitors from around the world. More than 4,000 Parks Canada workers take on these very important tasks.

Please join us in celebrating their contribution to Canadian Heritage and the 150th Anniversary festivities. We hope to see you there.

Employer concedes before court that contract workers are Parks employees

Halifax – Parks Canada Agencys strategy of replacing its unionized employees with contract workers has taken three steps back.

After years of insisting that three contract workers are employees of the employment contractor, Parks Canada Agency has finally been forced to admit that the three are, in fact, Parks Canada employees. At the request of the three workers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) provided support in taking one of their cases to the Tax Court as a test case after seeing an increase of members work being handed over to contract workers.

The Tax Court, on the consent of Parks Canada Agency, determined that these workers are employees of the Agency, said PSAC National President John Gordon. This means that their working conditions and treatment at work should be the same as those of our union members working for Parks Canada.


Our bargaining team began a week of mediation with Parks Canada Agency Monday, September 29. We reviewed our package of demands and focused on some of the priority issues of the membership, particularly no contracting out, privatization, hiring of students instead of bargaining unit members, and the arming initiative.

The employer’s response to contracting out, privatization, and the student issue was completely unsatisfactory to your bargaining team and offered no collective agreement language that protect bargaining unit jobs.


Were back at the table but where are our agreements?

Negotiations have resumed with Treasury Board for our PA, SV, FB and EB units. Our TC team will be in mediation from October 8 to 10. Our Parks Canada team started mediation on September 29 and our CFIA team is back at the bargaining table this week. Were back at the table but were still not close to settlements.

Whats the election got to do with it?

This federal election is critical for PSAC members and for the future of federal public services. What will happen to individual Canadians and to our communities if governments continue to cut budgets and programs, contract out, privatize or eliminate the services we deliver?

Its also critical because PSAC members in the federal public sector are not just electing a government, were electing our employer.


Treasury Board: Employer wants 35,000 positions to be deemed essential

Treasury Board departments have submitted proposals for about 35,000 positions that they believe should be deemed essential in the event of a strike. Your union is in the process of reviewing all of these proposals to ensure that your RIGHT to strike, as well as the safety and security of the public, is protected.

The approximate numbers of ESA proposals from the employer per bargaining unit are as follows:

  • PA: 22,000
  • SV: 3,900
  • FB: 8,869

While recognizing the need to ensure the safety and security of Canadians, your union is committed to defending your right to strike and will fight to maintain the strength of one of your most important bargaining leverages. The Essential Services Agreements (ESA) in this round of negotiations are of particular importance. Under the new rules of the Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA), we have one chance to negotiate ESAs that will stay in place for future rounds of negotiations, so we need to get it right in this round.

During the election period, the union will continue its negotiation of ESAs, including bringing disputes to the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB) if needed. There is no legal restriction on either the employer, the union or the PSLRB that prevents this important work from continuing during a federal election.

Parks Canada: Hearings before the Board

The Parks ESA hearings took place in mid-August at the PSLRB in front of a three-person panel.

Your union argued before the Board that this is not merely a factual case about specific essential service positions but required a legal interpretation of the new legislation and relevant case law to determine whether the recreational services offered by Parks fit the definition of an essential service under the PSLRA. The Board recognized that this was an important precedent-setting legal case.

Your union takes the position that recreational services, such as maintaining and operating camp grounds or interpreting natural and historic sites to visitors, are not essential services and may be suspended during a strike without jeopardizing the safety and security of the public.

We are awaiting the Boards ruling on this issue before we can finalize the Essential Services Agreement.

Following a May 9 announcement by Parks Canada Agency that it intends to arm 100 Parks employees, the Parks bargaining team walked away from the table on May 11 without discussing this very important issue with your bargaining team.

From the beginning, PSAC has been very clear that any and all issues regarding the arming initiative must first be discussed at the bargaining table.

PSAC confirmed this position in a July 15 letter sent to Parks Canada Agency and, on behalf of Parks Canada, Andrew Campbell responded on July 18 affirming that the arming initiative will be discussed at the bargaining table.


Where are we at in negotiating an Essential Services Agreement with Parks Canada?

Under the new Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA) the union and the employer must determine which positions will be considered “essential services” in the event of a strike. Right now, your union and the employer are disputing the very definition of essential services. Basically, the two parties are in disagreement over this fundamental issue: whether recreational services, facilities and activities at Parks Canada Agency constitute essential services as defined by the PSLRA. They need a ruling on this issue from the Public Service Labour Relations Board (the Board) before they can finalize the Essential Services Agreement.

Hearings before the Board are scheduled for the week of August 11, 2008.

Why is this important?

Essential Service Agreements (ESAs) play a critical role in the bargaining process because they directly affect what we can do next. While the goal of our bargaining team is to negotiate a fair settlement at the table, there is no guarantee that they can do so.


Negotiators for Parks Canada Agency applied for mediation after walking away from the bargaining table last May.

Your bargaining team believes that mediation is premature because the parties are far from resolving the substantive issues and that the employer has not even addressed the critically important issues, including the arming initiative.

The employer’s application for mediation to the Public Service Labour Relations Board came after seven days of fruitless negotiations that began on May 5.

Your bargaining team had agreed to return to the table at the request of Parks Canada Agency and after it had publicly announced that they wanted to return to the bargaining to address all of our important bargaining demands. Your team had made the commitment to you that they would remain at the table in an effort to reach a fair and just collective agreement.


Actions are taking place all across the province…

In Downtown Vancouver, meet in front of Canada Place for music, speakers and food from 12 noon – 1PM. Look for the PSAC banners! Show your support for Public Services and your Bargaining Teams! Wear your “I Support My Bargaining Team” tattoo or sticker and enjoy a free hot dog!

In Metro Vancouver members are going to a Bargaining, BBQ and Baseball event at Nat Bailey Stadium. They’ll hear about negotiations, share a meal, and enjoy a Vancouver Canadians game afterwards!

The South Kootenays is encouraging members to dress in ratty clothes to demonstrate how poorly they are paid.

In the Service Canada site in Prince George members will be in beach wear with “We deserve better” buttons and balloons and “I Support my bargaining team” tattoos and stickers at its National Public Service Week breakfast.

Fraser Valley is distributing peanuts, symbolizing what they think of the employer’s pay offer and giving out bargaining information to the members.

There will be a Union Pizza Day lunch at both Service Canada Sites in Kamloops and Salmon Arm. In Kamloops they are asking members to wear green that day (Show us some green) and will have green balloons with I Support my Bargaining Team stickers.

If there are no events near you initiate your own!

There are plenty of things you can do to show your support! Download our “Things to Do” flyer (.pdf)

Send a message to your MP! Sign a Think Public postcard and make sure your MP gets the message!

OTTAWA – The union representing about 5,000 workers at Parks Canada denounces the employer’s attempt at undermining contract negotiations when the Agency’s negotiators walked away from the table.

The union adds that the employer’s inflexibility on its meagre wage offer, on the elimination of pay zones and on closing the pay gap for Parks trade workers is a strong indication that the Agency is not taking negotiations seriously.

“After we reached impasse last February, the employer contacted us and asked us to return to the table because they said they were ready to respond seriously to our demands,” said the Public Service Alliance of Canada Regional Executive Vice-President for Atlantic, Jeannie Baldwin. “We came back to the table last week. After seven days of talks where they refused to budge from their positions, they walked away from bargaining and are now proposing mediation to which we don’t agree.”

Baldwin says in order for mediation to work, the two parties have to be close to an agreement, but this is not the case given that the employer refuses to deal with the major issues. “We want the employer to come back to the table and negotiate,” Baldwin says.


Parks Canada contacted PSAC asking for a return to the bargaining table, stating that they are focused on negotiating the substantive issues of the bargaining unit. These issues include, but are not limited to, work of the bargaining unit presently being performed by persons outside the unit, seasonal and term employment, Parks Canada’s announcement that they intend to privatize and downsize, a wage package including No Zones, and a renegotiated WorkForce Adjustment Agreement.

After 23 days of negotiations it had become apparent to your Bargaining Team that the Agency would not address the important issues. Your Team broke off negotiations informing the Employer that the Team would begin the process of applying for Conciliation. Immediately the Agency claimed that your Bargaining Team walked away from the table before it had a chance to address the bargaining unit’s critical issues.

In an effort to secure the bargaining unit a fair and just collective agreement, your Team has agreed to return to the bargaining table to again offer the Employer the opportunity to negotiate the issues that are important to the bargaining unit. Your Team is cautiously hopeful that Parks Canada Agency intends to negotiate in good faith and to address the bargaining unit’s major concerns. The return to the bargaining table will not change your Bargaining Team’s decision to apply for Conciliation or any other actions that are necessary to move the Employer to deal with the critical issues.

Your Bargaining Team is determined to achieve a new collective agreement with the Agency. To find out how you can show your support for your Bargaining Team, contact your Local Union Executive, or any of the Regional Offices.

Your Bargaining Team was disappointed, in this week of negotiations, by the employer’s lack of understanding of the need to have meaningful negotiation on the priority issues. It is clear that the employer is not ready or willing to negotiate a collective agreement after their statement that all demands carry equal weight in terms of importance.

Your Team was also frustrated as the employer continuously focused on grammatical changes instead of the key issues such as:

* Seasonal and term employment
* No contracting out
* Wages
* The return to the National Joint Council
* No Zones
* Misuse of student program

The Bargaining Team unanimously agreed that it is left with no choice but to apply for conciliation to get the process back on track, with the goal of achieving a fair and just collective agreement that addresses all of the bargaining unit’s priority issues.

For more information on Parks collective bargaining and to find out how you can participate in mobilization activities, please contact your Bargaining Team member, your local executive, or the PSAC local regional office, or visit our website.

We’ll be sure to update as things progress.

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