Bargaining 101: On route to your next contract

1. Bargaining starts with you 

  • We hold bargaining surveys to ask members how we can improve their work life, from work-life balance to decent wages and protections against harassment and discrimination. 

  • PSAC turns these into bargaining demands, and members elect their bargaining team and prioritize their demands. 

  • Treasury Board and agencies: Instead, members meet at a national bargaining conference to prioritize their demands and elect their bargaining teams. 

2. At the table  

  • PSAC’s bargaining teams exchange proposals with the employer. Through this process, some demands are accepted, some are rejected, and some are modified. 

  • Treasury Board and agencies: The only difference for Treasury Board bargaining is an extra Common Issues table that negotiates improvements for all Treasury Board members.  

3. Supporting bargaining 

  • Bargaining teams can’t negotiate without your support. While your team is negotiating, you can help put pressure on your employer online and in person at rallies, days of action, by lobbying, and by wearing union swag at work to join the fight for a fair contract.  

4. Reaching impasse 

  • When PSAC and the employer can’t reach an agreement, the two sides reach impasse, and a conciliation officer or a mediator can be brought in to help reach a deal. If that fails, the union can call a strike vote.  

  • Treasury Board and agencies: During impasse, either side can apply for a Public Interest Commission (PIC), which makes non-binding recommendations to help the parties reach an agreement. If an agreement still can’t be reached, the union can call a strike vote. 

5. Ramping up to strike 

  • During a strike vote, PSAC offers strike training and plans a strike strategy. Members continue to apply pressure to reach a deal without taking strike action.  

6. Taking job action 

  • Members can strike by working to rule – where workers do no more than the minimum required by the rules of their contract – stopping work in certain locations, picketing only on certain days or by calling an all-out strike. Members receive strike pay and other benefits while on strike.  

  • Bargaining teams continue to negotiate until they reach a settlement. 

7. Reaching a tentative agreement 

  • Once PSAC and the employer reach a tentative agreement, members vote on their new contract. If a majority of members vote in favour, a new collective agreement will be signed. 

  • If it is rejected, the strike will continue until a settlement is reached.

April 28, 2022