CBSA workers rally at Ambassador Bridge
WINDSOR, ONT. -- A rally was held at the Ambassador Bridge Wednesday in support of Canadian Border Service Agency officers.
Canada Border Services Agency workers protested as they’ve been without a contract for three years, and could take job action Friday — three days before fully vaccinated U.S. citizens will be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine for two weeks.
“Eighteen years I’ve been with CBSA and I’ve worked very few days with an actual contract unfortunately,” says CBSA officer Alex Hoffman, who was one of hundreds who attended the rally.
“We just walked around here holding signs making some noise. Your typical rally I suppose.”
There are approximately 500 CBSA workers at the Windsor-Detroit land border. The Public Service Alliance of Canada and its Customs and Immigration Union warns the public to expect long lineups and lengthy delays should job action take place.
“This is actually going to be the one moment where the public might like us,” says Hoffman. “We’re not gonna be collecting taxes on purchases.”
But essential services would continue, such as maintaining security at the border.
CBSA says they expect officers will continue to fulfill their duties with the highest level of integrity and professionalism.
The union has three demands for their employer:
- Address discrimination and workplace violence
- Salary parity with other law enforcement
“There’s a bunch of people who couldn’t work during this pandemic at the office but there was a lot of positions they could’ve actually worked from home but there’s no setup. We want this in our contract,” says Hoffman.
The two sides returned to the bargaining table Wednesday, with the Treasury Board of Canada telling CTV Windsor:
“The Government of Canada’s goal is to take constructive steps to advance negotiations. The government has never walked away from these negotiations and remains available at the bargaining table.
Mark Weber, President of the Customs and Immigration Union, expects negotiations to carry on past this evening.
“The Treasury Board has put a new negotiator in place so we’re hopeful that will move things forward,” Weber says.