Government forces vote on offer for border guards

Move a ‘risky negotiation tactic,’ says lawyer
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 07/04/2013

On June 7, the federal government imposed a vote on its most recent contract offer to employees of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) — a power it has never used before.

The provision allowing the government to call such votes was added to the Public Service Labour Relations Act in 2005. The vote bypasses the bargaining process by having the 8,600 employees represented by the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) vote on the government’s May 6 offer.

"It’s the fundamental right of negotiation that’s in play here. We kept saying the only thing we want is to go back and negotiate in good faith in a bargaining environment, certainly not by threatening us: ‘If you don’t take this, we’ll go directly to your members,’" said Jean-Pierre Fortin, president of the CIU in Ottawa. "They’re trying to hijack the process."