National Bargaining Conference

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The article below describes the work I have been and continued to be doing over the past weekend.

Je publierai la version française un fois qu'il soit disponible.

In solidarity,
PSAC members commit to defending workplace rights and benefits

PSAC’s Treasury Board Bargaining conference opened on a determined note yesterday, as more than 250 union members gathered at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa. Only days after the government introduced a federal budget calling for even more cuts to crucial programs, participants pledged to stand up for public sector workers and the services they provide.

“This is about protecting the hard-won rights of our members over decades,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President, in her opening address to the conference. “And it is about keeping those rights in place not just for us but for the next generations of workers who have yet to join the public service.”

Benson criticized the federal budget for its attacks on public sector sick leave. She also took aim at the Conservatives for rushing Bill C-525 through Parliament, “another outrageous Conservative bill that proposes to put up major roadblocks to the unionization of workers, and that will also allow a minority of workers to get rid of a union even when the majority wants to stick with their union.”

Conference participants heard from PSAC’s experts on the important issues that members will be facing at the bargaining table with Treasury Board. This includes the proposed trashing of earned sick leave. Delegates made it clear that they will not allow such an important benefit to be traded away.

Another major discussion focused on the improvements that PSAC members want to see to Workforce Adjustment provisions, especially in the face of more government cuts. Benson lauded PSAC leaders, representatives and activists for helping union members to navigate the current WFA process and find job alternations in the federal public service. Thanks to our union, said Benson, the vast majority of those who received “affected” notices were able to stay in the public service.

Armed with detailed information about the challenges ahead, conference participants prepared themselves for three more days of strategy and discussion.

“We will not be bullied and coerced into giving up the right of PSAC members in sickness or health—and especially not in sickness,” said Benson. “We will not participate in a race to the bottom.“

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