CANADA – The Canadian Border Service Agency employees who were participating in a work-to-rule action on Friday have returned to their regular working schedule on Saturday.
This comes after their unions, representing over 9,000 employees, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) reached an agreement with their employers late Friday night.
“We are relieved that CBSA and the government finally stepped up to address the most important issues for our members to avoid a prolonged labour dispute,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “The agreement is a testament to the incredible hard work and dedication of our bargaining team who worked through the night to reach a deal.”
“We also couldn’t have done it without the tremendous support of our members, who put intense pressure on the government at every airport and border crossing across the country today.”
In total, the work action lasted only 36 hours, but did create long lines and delays at the Cornwall Port of Entry on Friday.
At issue was the fact that the employees had been working without a contract for more than for years, as well as a desire for better on-the-job training and wages.
“CBSA employees have been on the front lines of the pandemic since day one, protecting our borders and keeping Canadians safe. But they weren’t receiving the support they needed from the government,” said Mark Weber, CIU national president. “Finally – after three years of negotiations – we’ve resolved longstanding issues that will go a long way towards making CBSA a better, safer place to work for our members.”
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) stated that they were closely monitoring the situation as due to their geography, their community is uniquely impacted by any disruptions at the border.
“The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has been closely monitoring the delays and reminds CBSA and PSAC that Akwesasne residents are not typical travelers and rely on border operations for daily business and personal needs. Special consideration should be given to the Cornwall border crossing to accommodate Akwesasne should contract issues arise again in the future,” reads a statement from the MCA.