August 9, 2021
Strike Averted: Tentative Deal Reached For CBSA Border Workers
Canada’s border agents reached a new tentative agreement with the federal government late Friday after a daylong work-to-rule campaign left long lines of semi-trailers and passenger vehicles idling for hours at some of the country’s busiest international gateways.
The deal — announced late Friday after more than 36 straight hours of mediated talks — came with just days to spare before U.S. citizens and permanent residents are expected to begin queuing up for their first chance to get into Canada since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guards who work for the Canada Border Services Agency were part of the work-to-rule job action that began early Friday amid contract talks between the federal government and the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Customs and Immigration Union.
Members of the union, which represents some 9,000 CBSA employees, spent the day following procedures to the letter after a negotiation deadline was set for 6 a.m. ET Friday.
“We are relieved that CBSA and the government finally stepped up to address the most important issues for our members to avoid a prolonged labour dispute,” Chris Aylward, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said in a statement.
“The agreement is a testament to the incredible hard work and dedication of our bargaining team who worked through the night to reach a deal.”
It helped that the work-to-rule effort put “intense pressure” on the government “at every airport and border crossing across the country,” he added.
About 90 per cent of front-line border workers are classified as essential employees, a designation that prevents them from walking off the job.