Archive for the 'John Gordon' Category

With the fragile economic recovery at stake, now is not the time to slash federal public services. This is the message that PSAC National President John Gordon delivered to Treasury Board President Stockwell Day yesterday.

As the government finalizes the federal budget, Gordon reminded Day that the services provided by PSAC members to Canadians struggling to overcome the recession continue to be needed, such as Service Canada employees processing EI payments.

Public investment leads to job creation. This means increased consumption and higher revenues that fund the services that keep our communities safe and our citizens healthy. Canadians and businesses large and small rely on federal jobs in communities from coast to coast to coast.

Read more at the national website.

Judging from the Throne Speech, the Harper government’s strategy for containing the deficit will focus on attacks against quality public services through spending freezes, more expenditure review and deregulation.

The speech was clear that the government plans to balance the budget by restraining federal program spending overall. It will do this by freezing the total amount that government departments spend on salaries, administration and overhead, and by aggressively undergoing a review of all departmental spending.

Continue reading John Gordon’s message regarding the Throne Speech at the national website.

Speculation about what will be in the March 4 federal budget is rampant in the media. Some reports would lead us to believe that the Harper Conservatives will leave the federal pension plans alone.

So far, nothing PSAC has heard from Treasury Board President Stockwell Day would lead us to believe that we won’t have to continue to fight to protect the pension benefits our members in the federal public sector pay for.

Minister Day has made repeated references to the pension plan funds. At no time has he guaranteed federal public sector unions that the Conservative government will not reduce pension benefits and/or increase contribution rates.

Our pension campaign is in full swing and we are not letting rumours slow us down. I urge you to continue your hard work gathering signatures on our petitions to Stephen Harper. The willingness of our members to send a strong message to the government is critical if we are to succeed in getting the Conservatives to keep their hands off our pensions.

In solidarity, John Gordon, PSAC National President


Challenging your employer and taking strike action is difficult; it is even more so at this time of year. Between the weather and the holidays, it takes extra strength to remain on the picket line. I am so proud of your courage and determination in standing up to Canada Post and their attempts to break your solidarity.

This strike was long and difficult, but you all showed Canada Post, and the labour movement, how committed you were to making improvements on the employer’s offer. And because of your commitment and activism, you were able to move the Corporation; having them return to the bargaining table with an improved offer.

Throughout the strike, Canada Post claimed many members were returning to work; but we knew that was not the case as the picket lines remained strong. While Canada Post claimed that mail delivery had not been hurt by the strike, we knew that the mail was backed up and significantly behind schedule. While Canada Post claimed it was business as usual, we knew that important year-end work was not being completed.


I am pleased to inform you that the Public Service Alliance of Canada and Treasury Board have reached tentative agreements for more than 100,000 members in the main bargaining units governed by the Public Service Labour Relations Act.

The membership should be proud of the work of their bargaining teams, who worked very hard over the weekend to reach these tentative agreements.

I am proud to say that these tentative agreements contain some gains, and no concessions.

We feel this is an accomplishment, given the challenging bargaining environment we are now in.


While Labour Day is a time to celebrate labour and our role in building a better world, it also provides us the opportunity to strategize and plan for upcoming challenges. All across the country we must be prepared to mobilize in support of collective bargaining, and, in the face of a looming federal election, to get our message out about the importance of defending quality public services for all Canadians.

It is also appropriate on this day to pay tribute to the many victories of organized labour in the struggle for workers rights, better pay and safer jobs. We must be ever vigilant in protecting our hard-won gains and our right to free collective bargaining.

Thinking about our role in building a better world, we must also defend the rights of our brothers and sisters who risk their lives daily fighting for the rights of labour in countries where to be a trade unionist may mark one for violence or murder.

In July, I joined the leaders of Canadas largest public sector unions and undertook a fact-finding mission to Colombia to examine: human and labour rights, the privatization of public services, working conditions, the impact of free trade and the absence of labour and human rights guarantees. Meeting with union leaders, indigenous groups, politicians, diplomats, and human rights groups, we were able examine first-hand the problems that afflict Colombia, especially given the current government’s human rights record and the concerns about the recent free trade agreement with Canada.


Four of Canadas top public sector union leaders, including PSAC National President John Gordon, recently visited Colombia to learn directly about the potential impact of a Canada-Colombia free trade deal on Colombian workers and their families. Here is a report.

We visited Colombia from July 18-25 on behalf of one million Canadian public sector workers. Our mission, among other tasks, was to see for ourselves whether our opposition to the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement was justified. What we saw and learned confirmed that we are right to oppose this deal and to speak out against it on behalf of Colombian workers and their families.

We met with many sectors of Colombian society, including the Colombian Minister of the Interior and government officials, the Canadian ambassador and embassy officials, leaders of the United Central of Workers (CUT) and trade unionists at all levels, members of the opposition Polo Democratico Alternativo, several non-governmental organizations, groups representing indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples as well as media reporters and ordinary citizens.

We visited the poorest of the poor families displaced from their homes by paramilitary groups to benefit transnational companies wanting to expand agriculture production, mining and other business interests. We were told that more than 4 million people, 10 per cent of the population, have been displaced without reparations.

Continue reading at


Labour leaders undertaking week-long tour of South American country

Bogata (23 July 2008) – Four of Canada’s top public sector union leaders arrived at Bogota airport on July 18 to begin a week-long labour tour and learn directly about the potential impact of a Canada-Colombia free trade deal on Colombian workers and their families.

They were greeted by members of the Sindicato de Trabajadores Postales de Colombia (STPC – Union of Postal Workers) and the Association of Public Employees of the Human Rights Ombudsman (ASDEP), among other labour groups.

The Canadian delegation includes George Heyman, international vice-president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), John Gordon, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and Denis Lemelin, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).


The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister:

On behalf of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, I am writing to express our grave concern and dismay regarding the imposition of a state of emergency and suspension of the constitution in Pakistan by the country’s military ruler and President, General Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf’s dictatorial actions, including: the suspension of Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other members of the judiciary; bans against the media; and the suppression of fundamental democratic rights; have resulted in protests throughout Pakistan and growing condemnation from human rights organizations, trade unions and government leaders from around the world, including Canada.

The people of Pakistan have a long and vibrant history of fighting to protect civil society and democracy and have been on the frontlines of the struggle since a state of emergency was declared in the country. Pakistan’s military dictatorship has responded with wide spread detentions and arrests of lawyers, journalists, students and internationally respected human rights defenders such as Asma Jahangir.

On November 11, the Musharraf government amended the Army Act of 1952, allowing the army to court martial civilianspeaking out against the state with charges of sedition, treason and terrorism, with trials conducted through military courts. This most recent change in legislation signals a dangerous escalation in the regime’s long history of human rights violations by allowing the military to act with total impunity, and presents a very serious threat to justice and human rights in the country.


Dear Prime Minister:

On behalf of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, I am writing to express our deep concern regarding the recent turn of events in Burma. Canadians and people around the world have been able to witness growing protests in Burma, led by Buddhist monks and nuns, as they have been gathering momentum in recent days.

In solidarity with the monks who sacrificed their lives, and to the students and youth who bravely confronted the military dictatorship through peaceful protest, the Burmese Federation of Trade Unions called a general strike for October 1. Once again, the military dictatorship has carried out acts of extreme violence against the Burmese people, including repeatedly firing weapons directly into crowds of peaceful demonstrators, and carrying out mass arrests and murderous assaults.

What is most disturbing is that such gross violations of human rights are standard fare for this regime. Not only has it regularly engaged in the barbaric practice of forced labour and imprisoned the leaders of the movement for democracy such as Aung San Suu Kyi, but also it has unleashed military and police terror each time the courageous people of Burma have attempted to stand up against the dictatorship.

In response, governments around the world, including the Government of Canada, have expressed condemnation of these acts. As recently as June, 2007, the House of Commons unanimously demanded that the Burmese military junta release Suu Kyi from the lengthy house arrest she has endured. She has been forced to spend 11 of the past 17 years in detention since she won a landslide election. The Public Service Alliance of Canada supports an expanded demand that all of Burma’s political prisoners, including the thousands of monks recently arrested in Rangoon, as well as student leaders, be immediately freed.


PSAC Labour Day message

On Labour Day this year, the Public Service Alliance of Canada celebrates with working Canadians the recent landmark decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, affirming that the right to collective bargaining is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

That decision was a great victory for all working people and a stern reminder to governments that they cannot run roughshod over the rights of workers and erase the hard-won gains of collective bargaining by legislative fiat.

Looking forward, the PSAC remains committed to standing up for quality public services both as an expression of core Canadian values and as a legitimate and effective investment in the nation’s social and physical infrastructure. Many of our over 160,000 members work everyday to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to improve the nation’s environment and culture. The work they do for the public good is the very embodiment of the collective Canadian vision of a fair, equitable and healthy Canada where no one gets left behind.


To the editor,

RE: Mental leaves in PS Soar (The Ottawa Citizen, July 31, 2007 – read the article at )

To suggest that mental health absences in the Public Service are soaring is more than a stretch. More troubling is the possibility that your article will discourage workers suffering from depression from seeking the help they need.

Mental health is a growing issue for the global workforce, not just federal public sector workers. According to the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health:

“Depression is the leading source of disability in the world and as a percentage of the burden of disease, it is growing faster in the global population than cardiovascular disorders yet it remains under researched, under diagnosed and under treated.”


The Public Service Alliance of Canada has called on the Prime Minister to mandate the Auditor General of Canada to review the federal government’s plan to sell nine office buildings and lease them back from the new owners. The text of the PSAC’s letter to the Prime Minister is below.

June 27, 2007

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister:

The sale of nine office buildings owned by Canadians will lead to one of the largest sales of public assets ever, assuming the government endorses Minister Fortier’s view that the federal government should not be in the business of owning real estate assets.

This transaction is taking place behind such a heavy veil of secrecy it may well do harm to your call for greater transparency and openness in government. To date, Minister Fortier has refused to release any details related to any aspect of the transaction.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada has deep concerns about the merits of the sale and lease back plan and serious questions about its costs and benefits. We believe that taxpayers will pay $2 in leasing costs for every $1 gained in proceeds from the sale of the buildings.


PSAC held a demonstration in downtown Ottawa yesterday to protest the Conservative government’s plan to sell off and lease back valuable federal government buildings.

PSAC National President John Gordon, and REVP-NCR Ed Cashman delivered speeches in downtown Ottawa yesterday against the government’s plan to sell off the buildings … here’s the video on youtube.

PSAC has counted the votes cast in the representation vote that has taken place among our members at Service Canada. The vote was to determine which PSAC Component would represent all PSAC Service Canada members at the workplace level.

The vote has resulted in the Canada Employment and Immigration Union earning the right to represent you at the workplace level. Here are the vote totals.

  • Canada Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU) – 3,774 (62.9%)
  • National Health and Welfare Union (NHWU) – 2,226 (37.1%)
  • Spoiled – 36
  • Total votes cast – 6,036

PSAC National President John Gordon will be meeting with the National Presidents of both Components in order to ensure there is a smooth transition process. A key part of the process will be to ensure that there is no disruption of service to members, particularly in the representation of members’ grievances. Another part of the process will be to give voice to the members being transferred from NHWU to CEIU.


earthSisters and Brothers:

This year, on April 22, over 500 million people in more than 100 countries will be celebrating International Earth Day. Some 6 million Canadians will participate in Earth Day events in schools, community groups, youth groups, unions, and environmental organizations. Nearly all school children in Canada will participate in an Earth Day event.

Across Canada, there is widespread support for protecting the environment. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, nine out of ten Canadians rate the environment as one of their top concerns, and eight out of ten Canadians believe that environmental protection should be given priority over economic growth.

Despite this widespread popular support, successive federal governments have systematically dismantled environment programs and replaced them with rhetoric and little substance. Canada is sadly one of the world’s most wasteful nations in terms of excessive energy consumption, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Our performance on the majority of environmental indicators is worsening. Clearly, there is a gap between our environmental values and our poor environmental record.

Read John Gordon’s Earth Day message at the national website.

OTTAWA – The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) says the federal government needs to change a number of its practices if it is to meet the challenges of the changing demographic of the federal public sector.

PSAC National President John Gordon, appearing today before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, called for changes in staffing approaches and practices if the federal government is to meet the challenges of an aging workforce.

“Staffing for part-time or short-term needs does not attract the same consideration of employment equity objectives as are in place when an employer is staffing on an indeterminate basis,” says Gordon in response to a statement by the President of the Public Service Commission (PSC) that 88.6% of federal staffing is in term, student and casual positions.

According to the PSC’s 2004-05 Annual Report, approximately 65% of those hired permanently into the federal public service were hired from a pool of temporary workers. “Perhaps this is why a Senate Committee recently described this practice as a ‘significant stumbling block’ to achieving employment equity,” says Gordon. “Reducing, if not eliminating, these back door opportunities is the solution and it’s a solution that our staffing agencies ignore.”


a Canadian one dollar billI want to start by thanking you for providing me with an opportunity to participate in your pre-budget consultation.

I do so on behalf of more than 160,000 members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the union representing the vast majority of Canadian workers employed by the federal government and its various departments and agencies.

In this short statement, I want to make a case for renewal of public services, public service delivery and public infrastructure.

But first, I want to make a couple of comments on the revenue side of the equation.  From my perspective there is both good news and bad news on the fiscal front since your government was elected a little over a year ago. I believe that your decision to reduce revenue by almost $5 billion by cutting the GST was a mistake. On the other side of the coin, I would like to commend you for taking action last fall on the income trust file because failure to act would have continued and increased the leakage from the tax system putting even further pressure on your governments ability to deliver service to Canadians.

Clearly, budgets are about priorities. And in looking forward to your 2007 budget, I can’t help but look at the past and your government’s September 25, 2006 announcement of a 1 billion dollar reduction in government expenditures.

Not all cuts are created equally, and I would urge you to take a second look at the 2006 cuts that undermine equally and use your budget to, in the words of the Ad Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality “Put Equality Back on Track”.

That means restoring operational funding for Status of Women Canada, and restoring funding for the Court Challenges program and the Law Reform Commission.

It means putting literacy back on the priority list, and investing more resources, not less to level the playing field for aboriginal peoples.


psac new logo 2OTTAWA – The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is putting the defense of quality public services on the bargaining table in the upcoming round of negotiations with the federal government for over 100,000 federal public sector workers.

“PSAC members are proud of the role they play in the daily lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast,” said National President John Gordon. “Our negotiations serve a larger purpose as Canadians across the country want more public services and are prepared to pay for them, not further cuts to our public services. The work we do at the bargaining table and in the community is about building a better Canada.”

The union has been holding a national bargaining conference for its five Treasury Board bargaining units and for its bargaining unit at the Parks Canada Agency. PSAC members, who attended regional bargaining conferences in late 2006, have spent the last four days reviewing bargaining priorities established by the 2006 PSAC triennial convention and bargaining demands submitted by PSAC Locals.


OTTAWA (CP) – The federal government has quietly handed senior government officials and the heads of Crown corporations pay raises and increased bonuses, sounding alarm bells from a tax watchdog and the biggest public service union.

Government executives and deputy ministers, the highest ranking public servants, are in line to get a 2.5-per-cent pay raise.

The chief executives of Crown corporations, such as the CBC and Canada Post, are slated to get three-per-cent raises.


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