Management reaffirms concessions and rejects contract improvements

On January 20, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) management presented its bargaining proposals at a Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearing, reaffirming its push for regressive changes to the collective agreement and its rejection of union proposals. Moreover, the CRA once again failed to present its own wage proposal, even while rejecting the union’s proposal.

Download the CRA’s proposals package

PSAC-UTE has made it clear to the CRA leadership numerous times that we will not accept concessions, yet the CRA continues to come back with the same unacceptable proposals. These include:

  • A reduction in the amount of vacation credits that workers can carry over each year.
  • A reduction of family-related leave for term employees.
  • Giving management the unilateral right to schedule all workers for shifts starting as early at 6 AM with neither union consultation nor the standard $7 per hour premium.

Union proposals rejected

PSAC-UTE previously presented proposals to address key members concerns and advance new rights, including:

  • Improving work-life balance through an increase in paid family-related leave, and greater access to compressed work weeks and telework.
  • Limiting evening and restricting weekend work, and having management recognize years of service when there is evening and weekend work so that employees can have some say in when they work.
  • Improving working conditions in call centres, including more rest breaks and more reasonable, reduced monitoring of employees by management.
  • Introducing a term-roll over policy similar to those of other government departments and agencies, which provide term workers a clear path to becoming permanent.

However, the CRA continues to reject all these proposals, wanting to preserve sole managerial discretion in allowing, denying or removing compressed work weeks, in assigning evening or 6 AM shifts to employees, or authorizing continuous monitoring of call centre workers. We do not accept this. Employees deserve to have rights protected under our collective agreement. Our proposals have already been agreed to by other federal employers.  We deserve the same and will continue pushing for a better contract for all.

Still no wage proposal

PSAC-UTE's last contract with CRA expired on October 31, 2016 and our last wage increase occurred in November 2015 – well over four years ago. The agency has rejected our proposed annual increases for the 2016-2019 period but doesn’t want to make us a counteroffer. We deserve reasonable wage increases that, at minimum, keep up with the increasing cost of living. Read our full wage proposal, including detailed rationale, on page 179 of our PIC submission.

PSAC-UTE's bargaining team presented the union’s proposals’ package at the PIC on January 6.

We are now awaiting recommendations for a contract settlement from the PIC, which we expect sometime in late winter.

What is a Public Interest Commission (PIC)?

Under the law that governs contract negotiations in the federal public service, once impasse is reached at the bargaining table, a PIC is established to help the parties reach an agreement.

The PIC is a panel of three people – a chairperson appointed by the Labour Board and nominees appointed by the union and management. The union and the employer submit briefs and explain their positions on the outstanding issues at a hearing with the PIC. The PIC then issues a report with recommendations for settlement. The recommendations are not binding. Once the PIC releases its reports for the various PSAC units, the union’s respective bargaining teams will meet to discuss the recommendations.

Traditionally, following this, PSAC’s teams and government representatives have returned to the table to resume negotiations. We expect the PIC report for bargaining with CRA to be issued in late winter 2020.