Let us stand together and we will prevail


I have spoken with to the PSAC National President, Brother Chris Aylward, and I am very pleased to report that PSAC and Treasury Board have agreed to continue bargaining talks through the weekend.

Marc Brière
UTE National President

Sisters, Brothers and Friends,

Members of the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) gave us a very strong strike mandate. Over the next few days, you will likely be called to take strike action all across the country as a result of your employer’s lack of movement at the bargaining table. In addition, the 120,000 Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members in the PA, SV, TC and EB groups who report directly to Treasury Board have also given their union a strong strike mandate and will be joining us in our fight against the federal government for a new, fair and equitable contract NOW. It must absolutely contain wage increases that will allow you to adequately deal with the continuing high inflation, provisions for telework and remote work and other improvements in your working conditions that will promote a better work-life balance.

Unfortunately, given Treasury Board's intransigence this week in bargaining with our colleagues in the PA, SV, TC and EB groups, it is clear that the negotiations scheduled for next week between our bargaining team and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will be very difficult. Following a legislative change to the CRA Act in the spring of 2012 by Stephen Harper's Conservative government, Treasury Board is dictating its bargaining mandate to the CRA.

In the event of a walkout, all UTE members will be required to participate in the strike, whether you work in the office or at home, with the exception of our members (less than 4%) who have received a letter advising them that their position is designated essential.

It is extremely important to show your solidarity and not cross a picket line. Here's why:

  • This is a historic moment for workers. Together, we have tremendous power: we can bring the federal government to a standstill for a fair and equitable contract.

  • This could be one of the biggest strikes in Canadian history and lead to real and historic gains at the bargaining table.

  • The more united we are, the more pressure we can put on the government, which will greatly increase our chances of having a short strike and getting a better contract.

  • When we are divided, we show the employer that we are not prepared to fight for decent wages and better working conditions.

The Canada Revenue Agency and some of its managers are sending messages to our members encouraging you to keep working and not participate in a potential strike. This is a union-busting tactic to undermine our efforts and break our solidarity to get a fair and equitable deal for you, our members.

This tactic by the Agency to divide us is also being pushed by other federal government departments and agencies.

Coming from a government that has announced with great fanfare that it will soon introduce anti-scab legislation, I find this attitude deplorable, hypocritical and frankly appalling. Prime Minister Trudeau and his government keep telling Canadians that they believe in fair collective bargaining and the right to strike without having to worry about replacement workers. Now that its own employees have a strike mandate, this same government is encouraging them to cross picket lines!

You either support workers and labour rights or you don't!

A good manager will never encourage his or her employees to continue working during a strike and thus crossing a picket line. Agency managers must respect your CONSTITUTIONAL right to withdraw your services during a legal strike.

If your manager encourages you to cross a picket line, inform your steward or a member of your Local executive immediately.

As stated by the PSAC, any member who works during a strike, even when teleworking, is betraying their co-workers and their entire bargaining unit. Crossing a picket line, in person or virtually, weakens our bargaining position and clearly benefits the employer, helps prolong the strike and leads to a deal that is clearly unsatisfactory for all of our members. The relationship between colleagues who have persevered and sacrificed for the common good and those who have sided with the employer could suffer for a very long time.

In addition, members who choose to disregard the picket line by continuing to work for the employer during the strike could be fined and have their union membership revoked.

I know and understand that some of our members have serious concerns about the possibility of a strike. And I realize that many of you have financial concerns and worries and that you have financial obligations to meet. We all have them, and we are all in this together.

But, believe me, it's not worth it. It's not worth it at all.

If we all stand together in front of the employer, we will win this battle. For ourselves, now, but also for future generations of workers, including your children and grandchildren. Others before us have fought hard so that we could enjoy good working conditions. They made significant sacrifices. Everything in your collective agreement has been hard fought for and the employer has never given us anything for free. And they are proving it once again in a deliberate and premeditated fashion during this round of bargaining.

By standing up and showing unwavering solidarity, our predecessors have proven that we can emerge victorious from tough battles with the government.

I am more convinced than ever that we can do the same today.

UTE currently has over 38,000 members. We also have 120,000 Sisters, Brothers and Friends in other PSAC bargaining units who are willing to fight with us for better wages and to improve our working conditions.

We are stronger than you may think, and we are facing a minority government.

And we are still in the middle of peak tax filing season!

If we must go out on strike, there will never be a better time.

Don't forget that if we go on strike, which is our last resort, it will be because your employer of choice, who prides itself on putting People First, will have refused to bargain seriously with your bargaining team, which is the only one that has your interests at heart.

Sisters, Brothers and Friends, I implore you. If we go on strike, show solidarity and take part in the strike! Never cross a picket line!

Remember, each and every one of you will benefit from the wage increases and other benefits and improvements to your working conditions that your bargaining team will negotiate in this round of bargaining.

The more of us that stand together, the stronger we are, the shorter the strike and the better the outcome.

It's that simple.

For those of you who may face significant financial problems in the event of a strike, don't forget that PSAC has hardship funds that can help you.  

Let's stand together once again and we will prevail!

Together we have incredible strength!

Let's show it to the Agency and the government!

In solidarity,

Marc Brière's signature

Marc Brière
National President
Union of Taxation Employees