Archive for the 'Political Action' Category



Bob Jackson at the Langley City Parade

Despite the gray weather PSAC BC launched the popular “Think Public!” summer campaign at Car Free Day on Commercial Drive in Vancouver last weekend. REVP Bob Jackson marched in the Langley City Parade, and had an opportunity to meet with MP Mark Warawa to talk about how the government’s plan to cut program spending will affect public public services and the workers that provide them in Langley.

Keep an eye out at community events and festivals in your neighborhood! Over the summer PSAC BC will be attending many events such as these. Staff and members will speak to the public about the value of strong, quality public services and the impact cuts will have on them. The public will also be invited to play “Spot the Public Services” – a game designed to educate and inform around the variety and importance of the work federal public servants perform.

Click for some more photos.

The B.C. Federation of Labour is hosting special regional meetings to strategize for the coming provincial election. At these meetings, we will discuss the HST campaign, fall pre-election campaign strategies, and key issues of importance in each community. We will also give participants a behind-the-scenes view of the BC Fed’s election campaign.

You can register for the meetings and get more information at the BC Fed website.

Meeting Schedule:

  • JUNE 16 – Vancouver
  • JUNE 20 – South Van. Island
  • JUNE 21 – North Van Island
  • JUNE 22 – Surrey/Mission
  • JUNE 23 – Burnaby/Tri Cities
  • JUNE 27 – Kamloops and area
  • JUNE 28 – Cariboo
  • JUNE 29 – Prince George
  • JUNE 30 – Okanagan

(note meetings will be held from 7:00pm – 8:30pm)

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

The election of a Conservative majority government should be cause for concern for public service workers and all Canadians who believe in the role of government in providing quality public services.

Stephen Harper has been given the responsibility of government for the coming four years. Given his actions while in a minority government, we are very concerned about his plans now that he has achieved a majority. PSAC celebrates the election of progressive candidates who will need to hold the government to account for its policies, particularly with regards to public services.

The New Democratic Party, with its historic win and official opposition status, must keep Harper to his word that he will not cut public services to Canadians or turn the clock back on equality. Newly elected MPs from the labour movement such as Nycole Turmel, the former National President of PSAC and MP-elect in Hull-Aylmer, bode well for a strong, principled opposition in the next Parliament.

Throughout the election campaign, PSAC reached out to its membership across the country and received very positive feedback on our priority issues. PSAC members will have to redouble our efforts and come together to confront attacks on the public service and the rights of our members.

The Conservative platform promised to reduce program spending by a significant amount but did little to explain where these savings would come from. Continued strategic reviews of departments and the proposed operational review of government program spending will no doubt have a significant impact on the quality and accessibility of public services enjoyed by all Canadians.

The reliance on attrition and efficiencies in the public sector to balance the budget will reduce the quality of the services provided by public service workers as they are called upon to provide the same service with less resources and staff.

PSAC will use all means at its disposal to enforce collective agreements and to protect its members from an erosion of their rights. We must all work together to ensure our quality public services and the workers that provide them remain an integral part of Canadian society and government.

Advance polling stations will be open from noon to 8PM on Friday, April 22, Saturday, April 23 and Monday, April 25. For information about were and how to vote visit elections.gc.ca

Whose priorities will count with our next federal government?

Since he was first elected in 2006, Stephen Harper has pursued an ideology that believes less government is better and little or no government is best of all. The Conservative government has been conducting an ongoing program of cuts to federal public services by stealth to avoid public, media and opposition party scrutiny.

These cumulative cuts ultimately lead to an erosion of public services and harm Canadians and their families who depend on them.
As a member of the PSAC, whether you work for the federal, territorial or municipal government, in a hospital, transition shelter or at a university, you understand that drastic cuts lead to poor quality services.

Harper’s priorities are not in line with what Canadians want when he spends money on self-promotion, super-jails and corporate tax cuts, ignoring serious issues like stable jobs, poverty, child care and retirement security.

In addition to whittling away at public services, the Conservatives have managed to turn governing into a one-man, top-down operation that punishes anyone with an opposing view. Our democracy is under threat.

The lack of respect for the people we elect, and the complete disregard this government has shown for our democratic traditions cannot be ignored.

When you visit the ballot box, vote for candidates who believe in public services and an accountable government.

Upcoming All Candidate’s Meetings

PSAC BC encourages all members to attend all candidate’s meetings in their riding.  These meetings are an excellent opportunity to find out about the candidates, hear their party’s platform on many issues, and to get their promises on record during the elections.

  • Vancouver Centre All Candidates Meeting – April 17, 2011 – West End Community Centre, Denman St. 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • West Vancouver All Candidates Meeting – April 17, 2011  – West Vancouver Public Library,  1700 Mathers St. West Van 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Esquimalt / Juan de Fuca (Goldstream) All Candidates Debate -  April 18 – Isabelle Reader Theatre Goldstream, 1026 Goldstream Ave. 7:30 p.m – 9:30 p.m.
  • New Westminster/Coquitlam All Candidates Meeting – April 19, 2011 -Executive Plaza and Conference Centre 7:00 p.m.
  • Kingsway All Candidates Debate – April 20, 2011 – Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 5288 Joyce Street 7:00 p.m.
  • Esquimalt / Juan de Fuca (Colwood) All Candidates Debate -  April 20 – 510 Mount View, Colwood 7:30 p.m – 9:15 p.m.
  • New Westminster/Coquitlam All Candidates Meeting – April 21, 2011 -Banting Middle School 7:00 p.m.
  • Burnaby/Douglas – Thursday, April 28 – 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm, Alpha Secondary School, 4600 Parker St., Burnaby
  • Burnaby/Douglas – Friday, April 29 – 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm, Capitol Hill Community Centre, 361 S. Howard Ave @ Hastings
  • Esquimalt / Juan de Fuca (Sooke) All Candidates Debate -  April 28 – Sooke Community Hall, 2037 Shields Road 7:30 p.m – 9:30 p.m.

Is there meeting or debate coming up in your riding? Let us know and we’ll add to the list.

In the upcoming federal election, ask candidates

  • What will you do to protect and promote public services?
  • Should the federal deficit be reduced at the cost of reducing government services?
  • What is your party’s position on outsourcing in the federal public service?
  • If your party is elected will you adequately fund federal environmental programs?
  • Will you invest in stronger protection by government to keep our communities safe?
  • Will you say no to corporate tax cuts?
  • Will you and your party commit to protecting workers’ pension plans and improving public pension coverage and benefits for all?
  • Will you commit to building a national, universal non-profit child care system?

Whose priorities will count with our next federal government?

Since he was first elected in 2006, Stephen Harper has pursued an ideology that believes less government is better and little or no government is best of all. The Conservative government has been conducting an ongoing program of cuts to federal public services by stealth to avoid public, media and opposition party scrutiny.

These cumulative cuts ultimately lead to an erosion of public services and harm Canadians and their families who depend on them.

As a member of the PSAC, whether you work for the federal, territorial or municipal government, in a hospital, transition shelter or at a university, you understand that drastic cuts lead to poor quality services. Harper’s priorities are not in line with what Canadians want when he spends money on self-promotion, super-jails and corporate tax cuts, ignoring serious issues like stable jobs, poverty, child care and retirement security.

In addition to whittling away at public services, the Conservatives have managed to turn governing into a one- man, top-down operation that punishes anyone with an opposing view. Our democracy is under threat. The lack of respect for the people we elect, and the complete disregard this government has shown for our democratic traditions cannot be ignored. Ask your candidates some hard questions.

Find out what their priorities are and if they deserve your vote.

We’ve had five years of misplaced priorities under the Harper Conservatives.

When you visit the ballot box, vote for candidates who believe in public services and an accountable government.

Michael Ignatieff has just announced that if elected, a Liberal government will create a new Early Childhood Learning and Care fund. Provinces and territories could apply to this fund for cost-sharing of new, affordable childcare spaces.

PSAC members have often expressed their distress at the current lack of quality, regulated, non-profit childcare. For years, polls have shown that childcare is a priority for a great majority of Canadians.

Two thirds of all women with children under five years old work outside the home. Childcare affects all women, regardless of their socio-economic status, racial background, sexual orientation or ability.

Read more at the national website.

Thinking about getting involved in the election? Yes, you can – even if you work for the federal government. Here are a few examples of ways to get involved, outside of your workplace and on your own time:

  • Wear a candidate button in public
  • Place an election sign on your property
  • Work as a canvasser
  • Volunteer in a campaign office
  • Take part in election day activities
  • Attend peaceful demonstrations on political topics
  • Solicit funds from the public for a candidate
  • Write a letter to the editor endorsing a candidate or party

Some restrictions may apply to some PSAC members, especially if you are covered by the Public Service Employment Act. Keep these in mind:

  • Don’t identify yourself as a federal public sector worker when canvassing, making phone calls, soliciting donations, or engaging in other public campaign activities.
  • Don’t wear your uniform or your government identification at public events.
  • Don’t drive a government identified vehicle when participating in election activities.

If you feel your rights are being restricted or if you’re disciplined in any way for your political activity, contact PSAC right away.

PSAC BC is looking for AS Compensation Advisors

On the eve of the long gun registry vote, Stephen Harper announced that the Government was consolidating Pay and Benefits services in Miramichi, New Brunswick, where the registry is housed.

The PSAC has been calling upon and engaging with the Employer to respect its obligation for meaningful consultation with regards to the transfer of pay administration.

The move to Miramichi would result in the loss of approximately 1100 jobs and most pay and benefits advisors no longer being able to do the compensation work they enjoy and to which they are committed. Instead these members would have to find jobs on the operational side of their departments.

After the PSAC filed a policy grievance the Employer agreed to form a Union-Management Consultation Committee to ensure that workers across departments and agencies are treated in a fair and consistent manner and that information is shared in a timely way. The PSAC approached Components whose members are most affected by this move and formed a reference group to enhance internal communication.

This Committee, consisting of representatives from the Components and PSAC, is now in place.

The Union is doing its utmost to protect the workforce adjustment rights of members but we also want to challenge this dubious and opportunistic move on the part of the Conservative Government by lobbying MPs and by making it a political issue.

To that end we plan to form a working group in of compensation advisor activists in B.C.

This working group will

  • funnel information/questions/reports and provide expertise and advise to PSAC
  • watch for and report any situations where workers are not being treated fairly and transparently
  • help distribute communications materials within the AS group and the broader PSAC membership
  • identify cases or patterns where compensation service levels are getting worse
  • identify and implement strategies designed to encourage the Government to abandon the TPA Initiative

If you are interested in being part of a working group or would like to be on a list for communication purposes, please send an e-mail to Patrick Bragg.

We Are One International Solidarity Rally @ Peace Arch Park, Peace Arch Border Crossing

Join union members, their families and allies from Washington, Oregon and B.C. at the international border to stand in solidarity with workers who are struggling to keep their right to collectively bargain.

We Are One is an international solidarity rally that protests the unprecedented and draconian legislation that significantly restricts the collective bargaining and workers’ rights of Wisconsin public sector employees. B.C. trade unionists have witnessed first-hand what an anti-union government will try to do, from eroding employment standards, freezing wages, selling off public assets like BC Rail, and advancing privatization. Now workers in Wisconsin need our support to protect their rights and to defend public services.

Transportation

Rally attendees are encouraged to car pool to the border. The B.C. Federation of Labour will also be providing bus service to the rally from Scott Road Skytrain station. The buses are scheduled to leave Scott Road Station at 12:30 PM. Please send an e-mail message to Patrick Bragg – braggp@psac.com in order to reserve a seat. The buses will return participants to the Scott Road Skytrain station immediately after the event (starting at approximately 3:30 PM). All are encouraged to use transit or take advantage of the “Park and Ride” lot at Scott Road.

Groups on Vancouver Island are also organizing transportation from Nanaimo and Victoria – for more information contact your local District Labour Council.

ID Requirements

The staging area for the rally will be on the U.S. side of Peace Arch Park. CBSA informs us that participants could be asked for proof of Canadian residence and/or proof of citizenship/immigrant status. The easiest way to provide this would be with a Canadian passport. If you do not have a passport, please bring government issued photo id (i.e.- driver’s license) and birth certificate or Canadian immigration document.

Background – Wisconsin

In a late night session, Republican governor Scott Walker rammed a bill through the state senate that would:

  • Deny collective bargaining rights to thousands of Wisconsin public sector workers and end negotiations covering working conditions, health and safety including workers compensation, leave entitlements, seniority rules, equality provisions, grievance procedures, representation rights, and pensions and benefits
  • Restrict public sector wage increases to the cost of living (COL) and require any salary increase above the COL to go to public referendum
  • Force union members to vote annually to keep their union
  • Stop dues check-off, making unions collect dues directly from members
  • Enable the sell-off of Wisconsins public utilities, and more

On March 18, a circuit court judge temporarily blocked the legislation. But the battle for workers’ rights continues – other US states and right wing groups in Canada are watching what’s happening in Wisconsin, intent on passing similar bills of their own or lobbing for changes to Canadian laws.

The message about declining service to the public has been taken to more MP’s in British Columbia and Ontario. CEIU is calling for improvements to working conditions to stem the turnover and sickness rates that are at the root of the service problem.

  • Let the government know how service to the public is worsening at Service Canada call centres!
  • A large town-hall style meeting with Vancouver MPs Libby Davies and Don Davies is scheduled on February 25, 5PM at the PSAC Vancouver RO. All PSAC members working at Service Canada call centres are encouraged to attend – contact Garry Fraser in the PSAC Vancouver Regional Office for more information.

Vancouver Local President Colbey Peters and PSAC Representative Garry Fraser met MP Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam & Port Moody) to outline the effect of working conditions on service to the public. With staff expected to meet targets for client contact that are well above industry standards, the elevated stress levels lead inevitably to higher rates of turnover and sickness. For pensioners and the unemployed, this simply means fewer experienced hands to take on the work. Donnelly will be taking the issue to the NDP caucus to consider their next steps.

Read more at ceiu-seic.ca.

CLC Leadership Assemblies on Pensions

  • Location: Burnaby Firefighter’s Hall, 6515 Bonsor Avenue, Burnaby
  • Date: March 1, 2011
  • Time: 5:30PM – 8:30PM
  • Location: Ambrosia Theatre, 638 Fisgard Street, Victoria
  • Date: March 3, 2011
  • Time: 5:30PM – 8:30PM

Meetings like these, organized by the Canadian Labour Congress, will be taking place across the country. The aim is to bring together union stewards and activists to develop a strategy to pressure the Harper Conservative Government to protect defined benefit pensions and improve public pensions such as CPP in the lead up to the provincial/federal Finance Ministers’ meeting.

The Conservatives have backtracked on initial comments in support of improving CPP and instead now plan to bring in a voluntary defined contribution plan to which employers would not contribute. Business groups such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business continue to attack defined benefit pension plans including the Public Service Superannuation Plan.

It is vital we build on the momentum created last year and continue to pressure the Government to protect and improve pensions for all people in Canada. In recognition of the importance of PSAC participation at these Assemblies on Pensions we have a special one-time offer(!) – Stewards or Local Executive members who attend will receive one of the new PSAC Steward bags/kits via mail.

Please attend these very important meetings being sponsored by the CLC. We will develop a strategy on how to get the Conservative government to protect pensions and expand CPP leading up to the provincial/federal finance ministers’ meeting.

  • DATE: Tuesday, March 1, 2011
  • TIME: 5:30 to 8:30 pm
  • LOCATION: Burnaby Firefighter’s Hall, 6515 Bonsor Avenue, Burnaby, BC
  • DATE: Thursday, March 3, 2011
  • TIME: 5:30 to 8:30 pm
  • LOCATION: Ambrosia Theatre, 638 Fisgard Street, Victoria, BC

For more information please contact Iris Taylor at the CLC Pacific Regional office at 604-430-6766 or via email at itaylor@clc-ct.ca.

Download a poster (pdf):

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.

Without any consultation with the Union or the public, CBSA has announced plans to close the Recourse Division Office in Vancouver.

Seven Recourse Officers who process and adjudicate requests for review and appeals regarding decisions made by CBSA on the origin, tariff classification, and value of imported goods will be made surplus. This is a highly specialized field of work that takes years of training and experience to become proficient in.

Canadians deserve to have their appeals processed in a timely manner. This closure represents a 21% reduction in the number of Recourse Officers nationally: this significantly reduces the number of experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated employees that perform this highly technical function and will increase the amount of time to process appeals significantly.

Call or email your MP! Let them know the closure of the Vancouver Recourse office is bad for the Canadian importing public.

For more information visit the Customs and Immigration Union website and read the resolution passed by delegates to the recent BC Federation of Labour Convention in Vancouver.

Vancouver MP’s Peter Julian and Sukh Dhaliwal met with CEIU representatives to hear how service to the public is worsening at Service Canada call centres. The visits are part of the union’s ongoing action to address the underlying cause of the decline in service: poor working conditions that are driving up levels of turnover and illness among call centre staff.

  • Do you work in a SC call centre? Are you interested in speaking to your MP about job conditions? Contact Garry Fraser in the PSAC Vancouver Regional Office.

In Vancouver, Local President Colbey Peters spoke with MP Peter Julian about conditions at the Vancouver call centre and the impact on service to seniors and the unemployed. He agreed to take the issue back to the NDP caucus to determine how the party would handle it. North Delta MP Sukh Dhaliwal was aware of service issues from a constituent viewpoint and appreciated learning about their operational roots from the union.

Read more at the CEIU Component website.

Bill C-389 could get through Parliament next week but we need your help to get it there.

Bill Siksay’s private member’s bill in support of trans human rights passed a report stage vote by only 12 votes in December. Fundamentalist and right-wing groups are flooding MPs’ inboxes, opposing this crucial piece of human rights legislation.

The bill will get its final hour of debate on Monday, February 7 at 11:00 am. It will be voted on at Third Reading on Wednesday February 9, 2011 between 5:30 and 6:00 pm.

This is the third time that Siksay, the MP for Burnaby/Douglas and the GLBT critic for the NDP, has attempted to pass legislation that would add gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act and federal hate crime laws.

Read more at psac.com.

Along with many other unions and community organizations, PSAC BC is a supporter and endorser of the Living Wage for Families Campaign. Here are some updates and news items from the campaign

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




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