Why you should vote yes to a strike vote

A message from PSAC National President Chris Aylward

The decision to begin strike votes wasn’t taken lightly, and it was made in consultation with the bargaining teams you elected.

We would have preferred to reach a settlement long before getting to this point. We made it clear to the government from the very start of bargaining that we wanted to get to a settlement without delay – instead they squandered every opportunity to get to a deal.

Just before the elections in October we went back to the table in good faith to give the Trudeau government the chance to reach an agreement before heading to the polls. Instead of negotiating seriously they stalled and ran out the clock in the hopes we would panic and settle for less. Then the government negotiators just walked away.

This has been the story for much of these negotiations – we come ready to make a deal – they come back with the same mandate and keep dragging their feet.

You deserve better

This has gone on long enough. You deserve better. And it’s time to get what you’re owed.

The major stumbling block to reaching a tentative deal with Treasury Board is the government’s refusal to give our members proper compensation for Phoenix and a fair wage increase. It isn’t the only one, there are others for each bargaining unit, but it’s the big hurdle.

During four years of the Phoenix disaster we showed up to work day after day, and they haven’t had the decency to table wage increases that would guarantee keeping pace with inflation.

Accepting anything less would be accepting a pay cut.

For a government that said it was going to do things differently with the public service, it’s insulting, and frankly pathetic.

And while the government is proposing you take a pay cut, it also expects you to accept a Phoenix damages deal that is substandard and unfair in every way.

Five days of leave isn't fair, and it's not enough

The five days of leave is far too little to compensate for over four years of general damages, but more importantly, it rewards the highest earners because those days of leave are worth more when cashed in, punishing lower paid employees, many of whom have suffered the most.

Why should a policy analyst receive double the compensation compared to an Administrative Assistant?

And why should that same Administrative Assistant get a third of what a lawyer in the public service would receive?

It’s completely unjust and there’s no reason for it.

As part of the Phoenix deal, we’re negotiating an expanded claims process so that everyone who suffered direct financial hardship can apply to be reimbursed for those costs.

But these 5 days of leave as general damages have to cover everything else. All the constant stress and frustration, all the personal time spent solving problems, the parental leaves avoided, impacts on your loved ones, all the acting assignments, promotions, and transfers that you couldn’t risk taking, the delayed retirements, and the list goes on and on.

This is our one chance to get a fair compensation for everyone and we know this government won’t budge unless we make them.

Send a clear message to the government

The question we’re asking all of you to vote on in the coming weeks isn’t whether or not you want to take job action in your workplace – the question is: are you ready to give your bargaining team the power to wrap up this round of bargaining quickly, and with the fair deal you all deserve.

A strike mandate will give the PSAC bargaining teams the leverage they need because the Trudeau government will want to avoid a labour disruption at all costs. The government is already in turmoil—they can’t risk even more disruption while they’re in a minority government situation.

The only reason they keep stalling is because they think you won’t fight for what you’re owed.

That’s why a strong strike mandate is the best way to reach a settlement quickly, and without having to rely on strike action.

We have to send a clear message to the employer – that when they sit down to bargain with PSAC, the only thing we’ll accept is a fair deal.

I urge you all to vote yes to getting the working conditions and Phoenix compensation you deserve.

March 9, 2020