Archive for the 'News / OpEd' Category

Ottawa – The federal budget that was tabled in Parliament today by the Harper Conservatives aims to reduce the deficit on the backs of hard working Canadians by slashing essential services, said the Public Service Alliance of Canada. In response, the PSAC launched a national campaign to reach out to Canadians in workplaces and communities across the country.

“Cutting public services and jobs is the wrong priority at the wrong time,” said John Gordon, National President of PSAC. “A majority in Parliament does not give Harper the license to ignore the Canadian public.”

The national campaign will begin with a Google and Facebook ad campaign that will direct people to send a message to Stephen Harper and Tony Clement in favour of public services. PSAC is also calling on everyone to Tweet their support for public services to @TonyClementCPC.

A secret Cabinet committee led by Tony Clement will make the final decisions on cuts to services. But the vast majority of Canadians did not give Harper a mandate to cut the services they depend on. Instead of listening to Canadians, the Harper Conservatives have decided to transfer $4 billion from vital public services to corporate bank accounts with no strings attached.

“Tony Clement has a responsibility to safeguard the public services Canadian families depend on,” said Gordon. “He also has a legal obligation to uphold collective agreements.”

Standing together with its partners, PSAC will work to ensure this government respects its obligations to protect quality public services and jobs for all Canadians.

In the coming months, PSAC will organize its members to engage their communities from coast to coast to coast, and meet with Parliamentarians in their constituencies to ensure public services are not eroded in favour of corporate tax cuts. In addition, the union will be contacting and bringing thousands of its members together to train them in their rights and in a campaign to defend services.

For more information, visit

PRINCE RUPERT – Workers at the Prince Rupert Airport are prepared to strike after negotiations with management broke down earlier this month.

Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Regional Executive Vice President Kay Sinclair says the workers are prepared to take job action unless the employer returns to the table and drops their demand that employees work more hours without compensation.

“We are very close to a deal,” says Sinclair, “With the help of a Conciliation Officer almost all the outstanding items, including wages, have been settled.”

“But the Airport Authority insists that our members agree to work longer hours without being paid,” she continues, “Management downsized the workforce by almost 50% over the last two years and now wants to increase the workday for the remaining employees by half an hour, without paying them for the time.”

“Our members are stuck on Digby Island for their whole eight hour day,” explains Stephen Dunsmore, Regional Vice-President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE), “Management knows they can’t leave the island to take a proper break and thinks they can take advantage of that.”

“Unpaid work won’t fly at YPR,” he says, “The Airport Authority should drop their unreasonable demand and return to the table. A labour disruption at Prince Rupert airport will have serious economic consequences for the city.”

Members of PSAC/UCTE employed by the Prince Rupert Airport Authority as runway and terminal maintenance workers, fuellers, and administrative staff have been without a contract since November 2009. They voted in favour of strike action in March 2011.

The 2011 federal budget does nothing to improve retirement security, hands billions to Canada’s richest corporations and calls for drastic cuts to public services.

After months of waffling, the Harper government has failed to increase the Canada Pension Plan or make any changes to ensure an adequate income for retirees. A modest increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement will mean a few extra dollars a month to the poorest of poor seniors. But the vast majority of elderly Canadians have been left to fend for themselves.

The government is plowing forward with $4 billion in corporate tax cuts – the weakest option for creating jobs.

Continue reading at the national website.

Come and join the Human Rights Committee of the PSAC for a film showing of:   “Looking for Dawn” 

When:  Tuesday, April 5, 2011,  anytime after 5:00 p.m. and film will start at 6:00 p.m.

Where: 3rd floor boardroom of the PSAC, 300- 5238 Joyce Street, Vancouver, BC

(Two blocks south of the Joyce Street Skytrain station.  Buzz 300) 

This is a 73 minute long National Film Board of Canada film about the estimated 500 Aboriginal Women who have gone missing or been murdered in Canada over the past thirty years.

 No cost, no tickets required, and we provide popcorn, drinks, and comfy chairs. Just come and bring your friends.

For further information or any questions, please contact Regina Brennan
 by phone at: 604-430-5631 or e-mail:

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.

Ongoing civilian job cuts through attrition at CFB Esquimalt are leaving trouble in their wake, says a union leader.

“If you keep peeling the onion, eventually you’re going to end up with nothing,” said Mark Miller, B.C. vice-president of the Union of National Defence Employees, which represents about 1,200 of the 2,000 civilians employed at CFB Esquimalt.

“All that’s going to be left will be the tears,” he said.

As civilian employees retire, their jobs – from trades to labourers to administration – are being filled with casual and short-term contract workers until military officials decide whether to keep those positions, Miller said.

Continue reading at The Victoria News website.

Ottawa – More than 90 border services workers from across Canada met on the weekend to prepare its bargaining demands for upcoming contract negotiations with Treasury Board. The conference was organized after the Treasury Board failed to meet any demands brought forward by the union during the expedited process in fall 2010.

Representing over 9,000 enforcement workers employed by the Canada Border Services Agency, the delegates to the conference discussed critical operational issues and health and safety concerns.

“Our members are on the front lines protecting Canadians’ safety,” said Ron Moran, President of the Customs and Immigration Union, a component of the PSAC. “We expect the government to address the demands of border services employees to ensure parity with other unionized enforcement workers in Canada.”

Border services employees achieved their first collective agreement in 2007. While progress was made in the last round of negotiations, there is considerable work to be done in order to ensure that the collective agreement reflects evolving operational realities. These include adequate protections for those officers who are required to carry firearms, fair and transparent shift scheduling processes, and pension reform to ensure parity with other federal enforcement workers.

“The Harper government needs to recognize the contribution to national security by our border services members,” said John Gordon, National President of the PSAC. “We expect the upcoming budget to focus on strengthening public services such as border security, instead of misguided attempts to cut the deficit on the backs of working families.”

The delegates to the conference debated the priority issues that will be brought forward when the Public Service Alliance of Canada serves notice to bargain on February 21. They also discussed mobilization strategies to ensure the employer bargains in good faith and addresses employee concerns.

OTTAWA – Dangerous contracting out of positions vital to physical and technical security at one of the country’s most important defence installations, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), means Canada’s national security is at risk.

Public sector workers won’t stay silent and let it happen. A new hard hitting radio ad, launched by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and its component the Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE), started playing across Canada today.

This national radio advertising campaign comes after months of quiet government meetings, conversations with senior leadership at CSE and lobbying by retired CSE officers.

“When retired CSE employees are speaking out, I would have thought the government would have listened. They didn’t listen and now we are working to ensure they know Canadians care about our national security,” said John MacLennan, UNDE National President.

The radio campaign will be heard across the country on News Talk stations in both French and English.

“This is a truly national campaign. We want to sound the alarm that contracting out positions doesn’t make financial sense – and in this case it’s even more troubling because of the extremely sensitive nature of the work at CSE,” said John Gordon, National President of the PSAC.

The campaign website is supported by an innovative Google and Facebook ad campaign that has already successfully alerted the highest government leaders about the briefing note, FAQ and, most importantly, the video testimonials of current and retired workers from CSE.

The campaign will feature several ads over the next three weeks; to download the first set of ads visit

Vancouver – More than three quarters of British Columbians support increasing Canada Pension Plan benefits, according to a new national survey.  Eighty percent of British Columbians also support increasing federal payments to senior citizens and four in ten believe the government is moving too slowly in reforming Canada’s pension system.

The Future of Pensions poll was completed by Environics Research Group in late August for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.  The national poll surveyed 2,020 Canadians and has a margin of error of +/-2.2 per cent 19 times out of 20.  Responses from British Columbia have a margin of error of +/-6.2 per cent 19 times out of 20.

“From coast to coast, Canadians support higher CPP benefits,” said CUPE National president Paul Moist. “British Columbians are sending a clear message to federal and provincial politicians who are currently studying ways to improve the CPP.”

The survey asked British Columbians their views on saving and their expectations for retirement. While many British Columbians have set up a Retirement Savings Plan or a Tax-Free Savings Account, 35 per cent acknowledge that they are not saving for retirement—mostly because they cannot afford to.

Only one in four British Columbians is fully confident that they will be able to save enough to live comfortably in retirement, and three in 10 believe they won’t have enough to live comfortably, with lower income British Columbians being the most pessimistic.


Ottawa – The Canada Labour Code violation charges over a boiler explosion that killed engineer Peter Kennedy are a welcome step, said the Public Service Alliance of Canada today. The charges come one year after Kennedy, a PSAC member, was killed in the tragic accident at the Cliff Central Heating and Cooling Plant near Parliament.

Public Works and Government Services Canada must be held accountable for health and safety violations in the workplace, and the federal government must take action to prevent further workplace injuries and fatalities.

Continue reading at the national website.

Federal health and safety officers are recommending a string of charges against their own employer — the Canadian government — in connection with a boiler explosion that killed an engineer in Ottawa last year.

Documents obtained by CBC News show that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada recommended charges of violating the labour code against the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada after an April investigation.

“There’s hardly any examples of a federal government employer being charged with a health and safety violation,” labour lawyer Paul Champ said. “It’s going to be a really big deal legally if they charge them.”

The explosion occurred Oct 19, 2009, at the Cliff Central Heating and Cooling Plant at 1 Fleet St., the building that heated the Houses of Parliament. Shift engineer Peter Kennedy, 51, died after suffering second-degree burns to 60 per cent of his body. Another worker was seriously injured. Investigators who visited the plant this spring say they found a series of basic safety violations, which are detailed in the series of directives ordering Public Works to fix the problem obtained by CBC.

Continue reading at

Ottawa – In a groundbreaking decision today, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that employers cannot discriminate against their employees should they choose to become parents. Fiona Johnstone, a Canadian Border Services Officer and a member of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, convinced the Tribunal that she was a victim of discrimination based on family status.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) refused to accommodate her request for more regular hours so she could arrange for proper child care. The CBSA told her that the only way that she could care for her kids was to work part time. Fiona Johnstone was unable to obtain child care because she and her husband both worked rotating shift schedules at Pearson International Airport.


OTTAWA – First the Harper Conservatives cancelled the mandatory long-form census, now they’re going after the federal Employment Equity Act that depends on this data with the announcement that they will be reviewing employment equity policies and practices in the federal public service.

“The government claims to support diversity but its news release implies the opposite”, says PSAC National Executive Vice-President Patty Ducharme. “It reinforces the misconception that equal opportunity is threatened by employment equity measures and that employment equity hiring policies are not based on merit.”

The purpose of employment equity is to ensure equal access to jobs for all and to make sure that workplaces reflect the diversity of the Canadian population. The Employment Equity Act and the Public Service Employment Act already require all hiring to be based on merit and qualifications.

Less than 2% of job competitions in the federal public service are designated for equity group members, and managers have to justify the use of these designations with data showing large gaps in their workforce representation.

“In fact, the government needs to be doing more to ensure diversity throughout its workforce,” says Ducharme.

Continue reading at the national website.

Thursday July 22, 2010     NEWS RELEASE    For Immediate Release

Servisair now admits major flight delays at Vancouver International Airport due to lockout of refueling supervisors – files legal application detailing extensive delays & complaints from Air Canada, WestJet, international airlines – after Servisair and YVR administration denied delays previously

Vancouver – Servisair now admits in a legal document filed this afternoon that there have been major flight delays at Vancouver International Airport since it locked out refueling supervisors on Monday – delays it and YVR management denied publicly until now, says the supervisors’ union.

A Servisair application to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board states that WestJet complained of “quite significant” delays and that “Air Canada advised Servisair that it could not afford a repeat” of delays experienced Monday July 19 when replacement workers took over from existing trained supervisors, says Stephen Dunsmore, Regional Vice-President Pacific of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees – a component union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

The Servisair application says Air Canada complained of “cost attributable to fuelling delays” and that United, KLM, Continental, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, US Airways and Air North all reported fuelling delay, Dunsmore said.

A WestJet official quoted in the documents says the delays were significant and impacted well over 140 other flights in the WestJet system.

Says Dunsmore: “This CIRB application is a legal document that demonstrates irrefutably that both Servisair and Vancouver International Airport management deliberately misled the public and the media about what Servisair admits have been quite significant delays due to their lockout of experienced refueling supervisors.”

“The solution is obvious – negotiate a fair first collective agreement immediately, as the union has been trying to do from the start – and end this lockout now,” Dunsmore said.  “We were at the bargaining table Sunday night when Servisair walked away without even hearing our counterproposal and instead locked out our members.”

Dunsmore said the Servisair application is a clumsy attempt to blame refueling workers who are continuing to work under their own existing collective agreement for problems when the obvious reality is that inexperienced replacement supervisors don’t know how to manage Vancouver International Airport’s complex refueling procedures.

“There have been many documented mistakes – some of which are health and safety concerns – that these replacement supervisors are making,” Dunsmore said.  “We are now documenting safety concerns and will be making the appropriate complaints shortly to bring this to the attention of authorities.”

Dunsmore said the union is confident that the CIRB will reject the Servisair allegations, noting that the union advised refueling workers prior to the dispute that they must obey their collective agreement even if supervisors were locked out.

Employer Servisair is a Paris-based company that provides fuel to Air Canada, WestJet and other airlines at Vancouver International Airport as well as at more than 128 locations worldwide.


For further information contact: Stephen Dunsmore UCTE at cell 778-998-1491 or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications at cell 778-896-0964 or 604-844-7827.

Mass arrests, detentions and abuses of power are an affront to democracy

PSAC members were among 25,000 people who protested against the G20 on Saturday, June 26

The Public Service Alliance of Canada condemns the mass arrests of peaceful protestors in Toronto at the G20 demonstrations this weekend and joins the growing cry for a public inquiry into police actions.

PSAC members were among 25,000 people who protested against the G20 on Saturday, June 26. But despite a largely peaceful convergence, more than 900 people were arrested over the weekend, in an alleged attempt to apprehend the small group of people responsible for acts of vandalism.

While PSAC remains committed to non-violent, peaceful protest, the union is joining the thousands of Canadians who are critically concerned about the vicious and disproportionate nature of the police presence in Toronto on Saturday and Sunday.

Read more at the national website.

The UN General Assembly has designated June 23rd – World Public Services Day – to celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community and to encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector.

National President John Gordon, NVP Patty Ducharme, REVP BC Kay Sinclair, REVP North Jean-François Des Lauriers, REVP Atlantic Jeannie Baldwin, CEIU National President Jeanette Meunier-McKay, and UTE National President Betty Bannon are in Vancouver attending the International Trade Union Confederation World Congress. They joined many other PSAC members and elected officers at a rally commemorating World Public Services Day where they heard messages of Solidarity from labour leaders from around the world and rallied for strong public services. Formed in 2006, ITUC represents 175 million workers through its 311 affiliated organizations within 155 countries and territories. Here are a few photos …

Public services build a sustainable world

The voices of Public Services International members are being raised from the streets of Europe to international trade union and government meetings in Canada this month.

The message is loud and clear: workers and their trade unions reject public spending cuts that reduce the wages, pensions and social programmes that families and communities rely on. Working people must not be made to pay any further to bail out banks and speculators.

Public Service International general secretary Peter Waldorff says, “Budget deficits and debts must not be used as an excuse to cut public services. This simply opens the way to privatizing desperately-needed public programmes, and will only further benefit financial profiteers at the expense of working people.”


Ottawa – While giving a speech today at the Public Service Awards of Excellence Ceremony, Stockwell Day, the President of the Treasury Board, proudly announced the creation of the Employee Innovation Program.

“On a day when Treasury Board should celebrate the excellent work of federal public service workers and the quality public services they provide to Canadians, Minister Day has chosen to deflect his responsibilities onto the backs of these workers” said John Gordon, PSAC National President.

Read more at the national website.

As capitalism begins to emerge from the ‘Great Financial Crisis,’ there is good reason for working people to refrain from celebration. Though the roots of the crisis were in the private sector, it’s clear that the bill will be primarily paid via the public sector – which is to say that the costs will be placed on the working class as both providers and recipients of social services. Moreover, although economic and political elites experienced a significant decline in credibility as a result of the crisis, popular movements – a few exceptions aside – remain on the defensive and are generally ill-prepared to respond. Most dangerously, as our weaknesses are exposed, and as pressures from business grow to ‘deal with the deficit,’ the government will likely harden its position and modest restraints will turn into more severe cutbacks.

And so at a time when people will need more public programs and supports, they will get less. In Ontario, the recent $200-million cut to the ‘special diet program,’ to help people on social assistance buy fresh fruits and vegetables and other medically necessary dietary supplements, is one especially disgraceful example of this, after spending billions bailing out auto companies and supporting the financial sector. And at a moment when unions in the private sector are reeling from the job losses resulting from restructuring and globalization, it is their public sector counterparts – now at the center of any hope for reviving the labour movement – that are under the gun.

Continue reading at The Bullet

Cuts to federal inspections are leading to disabling injuries and deaths

OTTAWA–The Public Service Alliance of Canada is demanding that the Harper government take action to prevent workplace injuries and fatalities, after a damning report revealed that it has been negligent in protecting workers under its jurisdiction.

According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the federal government is putting workers at risk by under funding and under staffing federal safety inspection. The federal government is responsible for protecting its own employees, those at Crown corporations such as Canada Post, as well as workers in the airline and trucking industries.

The rate of disabling injuries in federally regulated workplaces increased by 5 per cent between 2002 and 2007 while the provinces have managed to cut their disabling workplace injuries by an average of 25 per cent over the same time frame.

Read more at the national website.

OTTAWA — The Conservative government’s 2010 budget will compromise public services and people’s livelihoods, to the detriment of all Canadians. That’s the message that John Gordon, President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, delivered to the House of Commons Government Operations and Estimates Committee this afternoon.

Speaking on behalf of PSAC’s 170,000 members, the majority of whom work in the federal public sector, Gordon didn’t mince words. He criticized the Harper government for punishing workers and the public for a crisis that is not of their making. PSAC maintains that the 2010 federal budget will do little to help Canada recover from the recession, and will likely make things worse.

Read more at the national website.

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