Archive for the 'PSAC news releases' 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 www.psac-afpc.com/nocuts

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.

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 Securityforsale.ca 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 www.securityforsale.ca

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.

(more…)

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.

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.

(more…)

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Ottawa – The Public Service Alliance of Canada, the largest federal public service union in the country, will be taking swift action to prevent Canada Post from privatizing an important part of its operations. Yesterday, the crown corporation announced that it would outsource its contact centres and the National Philatelic Centre, resulting in the elimination of more than 300 jobs across the country.

Affected locations include:

  • Edmonton
  • Ottawa
  • Winnipeg
  • Antigonish
  • Fredericton

“This obsession with privatization will badly damage the quality of the Canadian postal service as well as the communities it serves,” said Robyn Benson, the PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President for the Prairies. “Many regions in the country will lose local contact with Canada Post as well as jobs that are important for the local economy,” she added.

Continue reading at the national website.

OTTAWA – The Public Service Alliance of Canada condemns the Harper government’s decision to close Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax. The union maintains that the closure of the three offices will make it substantially harder for individuals from marginalized groups to launch human rights complaints.

The three offices slated for closure received 70 per cent of all signed complaints to the CHRC in 2008.

The union, which represents CHRC employees, says this latest attack will have a particular impact on racialized people and recent immigrants. In many cases, the closures will make it much more difficult to challenge both systemic abuses and individual instances of discrimination.

Continue reading at the national website.

OTTAWA – The largest union of federal public-sector workers is poised to mobilize against cuts in public sector programs and operations and to apply pressure on Parliament to reject the federal budget.

“This budget is a clear attack against quality public services,” says John Gordon, the national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “The freeze on public-sector operation budgets, combined with an increase in deregulation and free trade, will further weaken the economy and hurt Canadians.”

Gordon argues that freezing the operation spending of government departments will mean significant reductions to the quality of public services that Canadians need in an economy that’s, at best, still undergoing a fragile recovery. Spending freezes, more expenditure review and deregulation will also mean job losses in the federal public sector.

“This runs counter to the government’s stated goal of job creation and economic growth,” Gordon says. “With this budget, the government is compromising the food we eat, the health of our environment, transportation safety and the public services that the people in Canada rely on everyday.”

(more…)

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.

OTTAWA –The head of the largest union representing federal public sector workers is urging the Harper government not to cut public services or attack federal pension plans in order to pay off the deficit.

“If the recession has shown us anything, it is that Canadians need and expect more services from their national government, not less,” said the national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, John Gordon, today during a press conference on Parliament Hill. “They expect safe food and drugs, their environment protected, their military and veterans supported and their human rights enforced.”

(more…)

Groups provide “reality check” on women’s equality – Labour, women’s groups will tell UN Canada is lagging

VANCOUVER, Feb. 22 /CNW/ – Labour and women’s groups have issued a report which they say is a “reality check” describing Canada’s lagging performance in achieving women’s equality. The report will be distributed at the Bejing plus 15 meeting being held at the United Nations in New York, March 1-12.

“Canadian women have lost a lot of ground in the past 15 years,” says Kay Sinclair, Public Service Alliance of Canada Regional Executive Vice President for BC. “Our government has sent a report to the United Nations that paints a rosy picture on women’s equality in Canada. We have written our own document and it is a reality check on what the government is saying.”

The UN meeting in March will evaluate progress, identify challenges, and recommend policies to promote gender equality and the advancement of women. This year holds special significance because it marks the 15th anniversary of the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women.

Sinclair continues, “We see the ravages of poverty every day in school classrooms, and rates are increasing at an alarming rate while the support mechanisms are disappearing or non-existent. With more women and girls living in poverty and being denied fundamental human rights, how can we build for a strong and prosperous Canadian future?” She adds, “Although Canada has made commitments to implement equal pay for work of equal value, the federal government hasn’t lived up to its commitments. The government removed the right to pay equity for federal public sector workers in 2009, with the adoption of the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act. We raise this issue in this report and it will be front and center for us next week at the United Nations in New York.”

Five years ago, Canada was ranked amongst the top ten countries in the world for its achievements in women’s human rights, but in 2009 Canada had fallen to 73rd in the UN Gender Disparity Index. Changes to gender architecture, shifts in policy and programming within the government, and the government’s response to the economic crisis have been felt by the most vulnerable women and girls in Canada.

The joint report is called Reality Check: Women in Canada and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action Fifteen Years On, A Canadian Civil Society Response. It was coordinated and produced by the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and the Canadian Labour Congress, and is endorsed by a variety of other organizations.




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