Using students to do the work of border service officers was a critical issue raised by our FB bargaining team when talks with Treasury Board/CBSA continued March 21-23. PSAC-CIU was particularly alarmed by remarks from CBSA President Erin O’Gorman who told a parliamentary committee, “I would say that our student BSOs become, to a large extent, our permanent workforce.”
Students have minimal training and are employed by the Agency for as little as $16 per hour to do the work of trained, professional officers. Students should not be performing the work of fully trained enforcement professionals and should not be doing union work without the union’s consent. We have made proposals to this effect in negotiations. CBSA should focus on recruiting and retaining staff, rather than bringing in cheap labour with minimal training to do our work.
Our bargaining team also discussed issues related to CBSA’s unilateral revoking of part-time agreements for union members in British Columbia; work on designated holidays; and CBSA paying work-related membership fees, such as law society fees, accounting designations, and range fees.
Management continued to insist that telework should remain a policy and outside of the collective agreement. We emphasized our position that employees must have the ability to grieve if CBSA management unreasonably denies such opportunities. The employer also proposed a reduction in compensation for callbacks, which we rejected.
These issues remain unresolved, but we will continue to fight for these important bargaining demands as we continue negotiations.
We are currently scheduled to return to the bargaining table in April, however, that could change if our fellow PSAC members employed by Treasury Board and the Canada Revenue Agency are engaged in strike action. We have made it clear to the employer that we will not meet while our fellow union members are on strike. An injury to one is an injury to all.
In the meantime, we encourage you to read our bargaining proposals to ensure you know what we’re fighting for:
Please be sure to keep your contact information up to date to receive all the latest updates about bargaining. If you have any questions, please contact your branch president or your PSAC regional office.