PSAC-UTE: Public Interest Commission dates set for the new year

PSAC-UTE and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) have dates set for January 27 and February 20 to make their case before the Public Interest Commission.  

Since the outset of bargaining, we have identified key issues that we need to resolve in this round, from access to remote work under our collective agreement, to protections for our jobs, to new hours of work protections and better work-life balance. We have also tabled a wage proposal that would provide fair increases that keep up with the rising cost of living.  

But CRA hasn’t been willing to meaningfully negotiate on any of these critical issues, despite the fact that other federal employers have agreed to improvements in almost all of these areas since we settled our last contract. Negotiations commenced last January, and CRA continues to ask that we give up concessions while they reject our improvements to members’ working conditions.   

The employer has indicated in negotiations that it is not prepared to address remote work in our collective agreement, and that such decisions are to be exclusively up to management. CRA has said outright that it is not prepared to introduce protections against the contracting out of our work. The Agency has also said that it is not prepared to recognize years of service that employees have given to the Agency. 

What happens next?  

As a result, our bargaining team declared impasse in the fall and contacted the Labour Relations Board and Employment Board in an effort to move the process along. The Labour Board has directed the parties to undertake mediation the week of December 19. This meeting will take place from December 20 to 22. The Labour Board has also now scheduled the parties to make their submissions on the issues outstanding before a Public Interest Commission  in the new year should no agreement be reached in mediation later this month. The commission will then issue a non-binding recommendation to the parties after the hearing in the spring. 

Remote work must be negotiated at the table 

Recently, it has been reported that the government is considering changes to current remote work practices, requiring employees to return to offices regularly. The labour code is clear that such changes cannot be unilaterally made while the union and employer are in negotiations. If the employer attempts such a change, PSAC-UTE is prepared to enforce our rights. The government’s willingness to unilaterally impose a mandatory return to the offices during bargaining is yet another reason why we need protections in the context of remote work in our new collective agreement. 

Membership solidarity has always been our strength. This round is no different. We’ll continue to update you on negotiations, and support your bargaining team with our digital background, learn more about our proposals, and sign up for regular updates.   

If you have any questions, please contact your UTE local.