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Over A Few Thousand Workers Are Fighting For A Fair Contract On The Streets In Winnipeg

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Update from the Public Service Alliance of Canada May 01, 2023:

PSAC has reached an agreement for the PA, SV, TC and EB bargaining units at Treasury Board. Members in those bargaining groups are required to return to work for their next scheduled shift, beginning May 1 at 9 a.m. ET. However, strike action continues for 35,000 members at the Canada Revenue Agency as negotiations resume with a new mandate from CRA to reach a fair contract.

As of Wednesday, April 26, 2023, PSAC National President Chris Aylward says they have “moved off” its wage demands and as of Tuesday night, the government told the union Tuesday night it was not changing its current wage offer. According to Aylward, the union has not seen a final offer from the government.

These interviews were conducted on Monday, April 24, 2023. The situation continues to evolve rapidly.

Over a few thousand people are on the streets in Winnipeg. Workers from Canada Revenue Agency are on strike alongside the Public Service Alliance of Canada, demanding fair contact between PSAC and the Treasury Board.

“Workers are on strike right now all across Canada looking to get a fair deal. They’ve had their wages frozen in the past, inflation is up, and groceries and gas are up. They want to keep the peace, but the offer on the table doesn’t let the wages do that, so they all are on strike. It’s the last resort, that’s not something workers want to do, but they feel that they have to do it to be heard by the government for them to do the right thing and put a fair deal on the table,” said Kevin Rebeck, President The Manitoba Federation of Labour.

Keri D’Avignon-Nault, a Strike Captain of the Canada Employment Immigration Union, said inflation has hugely impacted members’ lives, and it’s important to ensure that members’ voices are heard and represented.

“The majority of our members are women making between $40,000 and $60,000 a year. We have members who are working two full-time jobs in order to make ends meet. We have people who are choosing between paying their rent and using the food bank. It is really important for us to be able to get some fair wages out of this.”

Agency workers fight for a fair contract for Canada’s Federal Public Service workers. In addition to higher wages, the union also demands flexibility to work from home.

“We definitely are looking at some of the telework remote work options as being enshrined in our Collective Agreement. Some of our members have to go to work every day, and that’s why we need both,” said D’Avignon-Nault. “We need to be looking at remote work as well as fair wages because both are reflected in our work environment.”

D’Avignon-Nault added working remotely and working in the office have different monetary impacts. As a collective, they want to ensure everyone’s needs are met. Strike action began on April 19 and ranks as one of the largest strikes in Canada’s history.

“Every labour action makes a difference. We can look at history for that. Today we have the chance to make history and fight for what’s fair for all Canadians. We are not just fighting for ourselves; we’re fighting for everybody,” said Maureen Dawson, Integrity Services Investigator for Employment and Social Development Canada.

– Yuliia Kovalenko, U Multicultural

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