National Public Service Week: Celebrating your work and building on our gains

A message from PSAC National President Chris Aylward

The past year has truly tested the resolve of federal public service workers. Yet every step of the way, you've delivered for Canadians – grappling with the uncertainty of a global pandemic, juggling your career while caring for your families at home, or going into work to maintain critical services despite the risk of contracting COVID-19.

In the face of this adversity, each and every one of you stepped up to put the needs of Canadians first. You rolled out historic financial aid to millions of people in need, you've continued to keep our food safe and our borders secure, and you've played a vital role in Canada's vaccination rollout, just to name a few achievements.

On National Public Service Week – June 13 to 19 – we recognize your extraordinary dedication to Canadians and the critical role of the federal public service in their lives.

Unfortunately, the government has been sending mixed messages about the value of your work during the pandemic.

After PSAC secured unprecedented Phoenix damages for our members, Treasury Board actively blocked a fair tax ruling, denying you the full compensation you deserve. Even now, they continue to delay damages payments to retirees and other former employees.

And when it came time to support you at one of the toughest points of the pandemic, your employer let you down. They clawed back the use of 699 leave, forcing you to use up your sick leave and vacation time when outbreaks forced the closure of schools and child care centres.

On this National Public Service Week, let's ignore the employer's lip service and boycott their events. We need to focus on what really matters: building on the significant gains PSAC made in the last round of bargaining.

This week, bargaining kicks off for over 140,000 PSAC members in Treasury Board bargaining units. We'll be proposing significant improvements that will help create stronger, healthier, and more inclusive workplaces. We need to build flexible remote work opportunities into collective agreements, secure the right for you to disconnect after work, and tackle systemic racism in the workplace.

You also deserve fair wages that reflect the rising cost of living and the crucial services you provide to Canadians every day.

We know we'll need to work hard for these gains, and we'll need to work together. That's why PSAC got the ball rolling early this round - before other unions - so that we can set the pace of negotiations. As the union representing more than 50 per cent of federal public service workers, we'll use our leverage to get a good contract and prevent the government from dragging out this round of bargaining.

Your commitment to Canadians throughout the pandemic has been invaluable, and we'll continue to fight for a contract that reflects that. You've earned it.

Happy National Public Service Week!