Civilian employees on military bases mobilize to close pay gap

Civilian employees working on Canadian Forces bases across Canada handed out flyers in front of their workplaces on Halloween to draw attention to their long-standing problem of unfair wages.

The employees’ pay grids are completely inconsistent across bases. For example, an administrative assistant in Valcartier is paid 40 per cent less than someone in the exact same job in Ottawa.

They also get paid less than the core federal public service for the same jobs. For example, a first cook is paid around $14 an hour at Valcartier, but a first cook in a DND kitchen working for Treasury Board is paid $19 an hour. That’s a 30 per cent difference.

The employees are members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and its component, the Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE). They work in 10 military bases in various locations across Canada as administrative or operational support staff.

“From base to base our members’ pay grids are completely inconsistent and inadequate,” says Cathy O’Kane, UNDE’s Vice-President for Non-Public Funds. “They are some of the lowest paid federal public servants in Canada.”

All bargaining units, except CFB Suffield, are currently at different stages of collective bargaining. Collective bargaining at CFB Valcartier has reached impasse.

Check out the photo gallery of the mobilization.


November 6, 2019