Our CFIA Bargaining Team met with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on September 29th and 30th to exchange bargaining demands. We used this first meeting to provide an overview of our bargaining demands.
CFIA presented their bargaining proposals to us, which contain a number of concessions, including the removal of sick leave from the collective agreement. While some of the employer concessions are mandated by Treasury Board, others are a creation of the CFIA and their ‘transformation’ initiative. The Team told the employer we have no interest in concession bargaining. We are here to advance workplace issues and make improvements to the collective agreement.
Bargaining in both official languages
Initially, CFIA provided their proposals in English only. When we asked for the French version, CFIA replied that while they respect official languages, they are under no obligation to provide their material in French; neither their initial proposals nor any language that we may agree-to during the course of bargaining. This is a significant problem for us, as it is our practice to negotiate bilingually and sign-off on articles in both French and English concurrently. All members must be able to have equal access to the negotiation of their collective agreement; this is an issue of our language rights.
CFIA is a federal employer who must adhere to the Official Languages Act, which makes clear that: “officers and employees of institutions of the Parliament or government of Canada should have equal opportunities to use the official language of their choice while working together in pursuing the goals of those institutions.”
The Agriculture Union and PSAC are pursuing this matter with CFIA. Agriculture Union National President Bob Kingston pressured CFIA and subsequently secured a commitment to receiving their proposals in French. We continue to insist upon the provision of bilingual bargaining documents.
Future bargaining dates
The Team set to future bargaining dates with CFIA, which will take place in January, March, and April 2016. Stay informed: sign up for bargaining updates and make sure your membership information is up to date.
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