Contract Negotiations

PSAC-UTE continue pursuit of a fair collective agreement with the CRA – June 1, 2019

“The tentative collective agreement settlements reached by the federal Treasury Board and the Canada Revenue Agency with some federal unions this week will not stand in the way of proper compensation for PSAC/UTE members who work for the CRA”, says PSAC National President Chris Aylward.

“Negotiations with the CRA are at impasse and, despite the Agency’s objections, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board is establishing a Public Interest Commission to review the positions of the parties and make recommendations, says UTE National President Marc Brière.

“We are prepared to go back to the bargaining table, but the CRA must show it is prepared to address the important concerns of our members including compensation, work-life balance and working conditions in call centres,” said Brière.

After almost a year of negotiations, the Agency continues to insist on concessions and refused to table wages when the parties met in mediation.

Our bargaining team is interested in collective agreement improvements, not rollbacks,” said UTE 2nd National Vice-President Adam Jackson.

“There are serious problems at CRA that need resolving, including issues related to scheduling and the fact that a great many of our members spend years at the Agency as terms and are never provided the opportunity for permanent employment. This needs to change,” concluded Brière.

The PSAC-UTE bargaining team is committed to achieving a fair contract—one that protects hard-fought gains and secures new rights and protections for PSAC-UTE members.


PSAC-UTE declares impasse as CRA refuses to address member concerns – May 10, 2019

The PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) bargaining team representing members at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) declared bargaining impasse following talks held from May 7 to 9 in Ottawa. The session was held in the presence of a federal mediator.

The CRA once again refused to address key member concerns and instead insisted on the union agreeing to concessions.

Wages: We tabled a wage proposal back in December. The Agency ignored it for several months but eventually agreed to present its response at this week’s session. In an unprecedented move, however, the CRA reneged on its promise.

Term employment: We presented a proposal to allow term employees the opportunity to gain indeterminate status, rather than spending years on short term contracts. Other federal employers have adopted policies addressing such concerns. The CRA refused to address this issue.

Work-life balance: We proposed improvements to work-life balance, including an increase in paid leave, consistent with the government’s claimed commitment to work-life balance. The CRA said no to our proposal.

Conditions in call centres: We proposed improved working conditions in call centres, including more rest breaks and more reasonable, reduced monitoring of employees by management. The CRA said no to our proposal.

Scheduling and hours of work: We proposed changes including making evening shifts voluntary and recognizing years of service where there is evening and weekend work. The Agency has repeatedly approached PSAC-UTE to discuss increasing evening shifts and a joint union-employer study found evidence of favouritism and inconsistent practices in CRA workplaces with evening and weekend shifts. The CRA said no to our proposal and instead proposed language that could result in employees being scheduled by management to work outside core hours against their wishes.
We believe the years of service that an employee gives to the Agency should count for something. Unfortunately, the Agency does not, and insists instead that employees would prefer management deciding whether or not they work evenings and weekends in certain workplaces.

The PSAC-UTE bargaining team is committed to achieving a fair contract—one that protects hard-fought gains and secures new rights and protections for PSAC-UTE members.

Be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca for more information and to subscribe for regular updates. Should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

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CRA bargaining: Mediation begins, limited progress achieved – April 5, 2019

The PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) bargaining team representing members at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) held talks with the employer between April 2 and 4.  The session was held at the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board in Ottawa in the presence of a federal mediator.

Key issues for this round of bargaining, such as excessive term employment and hours of work, remain unresolved. Moreover, the union has still not received a response to the wage proposal. This is disappointing, and PSAC-UTE believes Treasury Board interference in the bargaining approach taken by CRA management is an obstacle to making significant progress at the table.

Nevertheless, the bargaining team did achieve limited progress on some other issues at this week’s meetings and agreed to hold another session with the mediator between May 6 and 9.

PSAC-UTE remains committed to advancing the following priorities through the mediation process:

  • Protections against excessive term employment, along with more permanent jobs and income security.
  • Protections against the expansion of shift work, as well as new rights for employees scheduled to work evenings.
  • Increased work-life balance, with an emphasis on improved access to leave.
  • Improved conditions for call centre workers, including scheduling rights and better protections.
  • Union rights in the workplace, consistent with what other federal employers have agreed to.
  • Fair wage increases that minimally keep up with inflation. 

The bargaining team appreciates the support it has received from the membership throughout this process and encourages members to continue showing visible support for the union and bargaining proposals in the workplace.

Updates will be provided as things evolve. In the meantime, be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca to see what PSAC-UTE has proposed, for more information, and to subscribe to regular updates. Also, should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

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Federal mediator to convene PSAC-UTE and CRA in early April – March 6, 2019

A federal mediator appointed by the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board has announced that mediation between PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been scheduled for April 2-4 in Ottawa.

The forthcoming mediation session follows many frustrating months of stalled negotiations between the union and CRA, during which the employer did not meaningfully address members’ concerns and instead pushed for concessions. As a result, PSAC-UTE declared bargaining impasse in January and asked the Labour Board to establish a Public Interest Commission (PIC).

In late February, the Labour Board named a mediator for the dispute and asked both parties to return to the bargaining table with the mediator’s assistance. The Board also  indicated that the establishment of a PIC will be delayed to allow mediation to proceed.

The PSAC-UTE bargaining team remains committed to negotiating a new collective agreement that addresses members’ concerns and ensures fair wage increases.

Updates will be provided as things evolve. In the meantime, be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca to see what PSAC-UTE has proposed, for more information, and to subscribe to regular updates. Also, should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

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The Labour Board has appointed a mediator in PSAC-UTE’s contract dispute with the CRA – February 28, 2019

On February 27, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board named a federal mediator to assist in talks between the PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The Board’s decision follows PSAC-UTE’s declaration of bargaining impasse in January, after many frustrating months of stalled negotiations.

The PSAC-UTE bargaining team is now in the process of reaching out to the mediator to set dates for the next bargaining session.

The Board also declared that the creation of a Public Interest Commision will be delayed in order to give the parties an opportunity to return to the bargaining table with the assistance of the mediator.

Since bargaining began eight months ago, the union has made it clear that key member priorities for the next contract are:

  • Protections against excessive term employment, along with more permanent jobs and income security.
  • Protections against the expansion of shift work, as well as new rights for employees scheduled to work evenings.
  • Increased work-life balance, with an emphasis on improved access to leave.
  • Improved conditions for call centre workers, including scheduling rights and better protections.
  • Union rights in the workplace, consistent with what other federal employers have agreed to.
  • Fair wage increases that minimally keep up with inflation. 

Unfortunately, over many months of talks, the CRA remained unwilling to meaningfully address the above concerns, and instead pushed for concessions.

Updates will be provided as things evolve. In the meantime, be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca to see what PSAC-UTE has proposed, for more information, and to subscribe to regular updates. Also, should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

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PSAC-UTE filed for a Public Interest Commission in January – February 4, 2019

At the end of the last bargaining session with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) the PSAC/UTE bargaining team declared impasse and filed for the creation of a Public Interest Commission with the Public Service Labour Relations Board.

Bargaining commenced with the Agency in June of last year. At the outset of negotiations, and in every session since, the union made clear to the CRA the key priorities for this round of negotiations:

  • Protections against excessive term employment, along with more permanent jobs and income security.
  • Protections against the expansion of shift work, as well as new rights for employees scheduled to work evenings.
  • Increased work-life balance, with an emphasis on improved access to leave.
  • Improved conditions for call centre workers, including scheduling rights and better protections.
  • Union rights in the workplace, consistent with what other federal employers have agreed to.

The bargaining team reiterated these priorities again during the January 2019 bargaining session.

PSAC-UTE also tabled a wage proposal in early December that would ensure fair increases that keep up with the cost of living. However, the CRA stated that it would not table a wage position at the January bargaining session.

The union agreed to meet with the CRA all the same in attempt to resolve the other key non-wage priorities listed above. Despite the fact that other federal employers have agreed to improvements in almost all of these key areas since the last contract with CRA was settled in 2016, the CRA provided zero indication that it would address these issues over the last seven months of negotiations.

For example, even though there are term employees who have worked for many years at the CRA without ever being made permanent, the CRA has said that it will not discuss the matter. Meanwhile, throughout all bargaining sessions, the CRA has continued to insist that the union give up worker rights that have existed in the collective agreement for decades.

The bargaining team is looking for improvements in this round of negotiations, not steps backwards.

Given this lack of flexibility on the part of the CRA, PSAC/UTE filed for impasse with the Labour Board. Bargaining began seven months ago and the union believes it’s time to proceed to the next step in the process. PSAC-UTE awaits news from the Labour Board.

Be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca to see what PSAC-UTE has proposed, for more information, and to subscribe to regular updates. Also, should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

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CRA fails to respond to union wage proposal and other key concerns; continues to insist on concessions – January 25, 2019

The PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) bargaining team met with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on January 21-24 to continue negotiations for a new collective agreement.

The team tabled a wage proposal two months ago that would ensure fair increases that keep up with the rising cost of living. However, the CRA opted not to make a wage counterproposal this week, and told the bargaining team it had no mandate to table anything beyond what was offered by Treasury Board in bargaining with PSAC.

Since the outset of bargaining, moreover, the PSAC-UTE bargaining team identified key issues that needed to be resolved in this round, including: evening & shift work, excessive term employment, work/life balance in call centres and job security. No serious progress has been made on any these issues, despite the fact that other federal employers have agreed to improvements in almost all of these areas since PSAC-UTE settled the last contract with CRA.

Negotiations began last June, and since then, little of substance has been accomplished, while the CRA continues to ask us for concessions.

In bargaining, the union provided the CRA with numerous examples of problems, from employees being forced to work evenings and nights to term employees spending years working for CRA and never being offered the opportunity to achieve permanency, while new hires get permanent jobs. The CRA has responded with either outright rejection of the solutions we proposed or, in some cases, it countered with proposals to make things worse. For example, it tabled a proposal that would give management the ability to schedule employees for even longer hours against their will.

On term employment, the lack of permanent jobs and other staffing concerns, the CRA won’t even discuss these at the table. As for call centres, the CRA’s proposals would not provide for significant improvements for members.

PSAC-UTE is determined to achieve a fair contract, one that protects hard fought gains and provides new rights and protections to members. PSAC-UTE members deserve to be treated with respect.

Given this lack of progress in negotiations, PSAC-UTE is declaring impasse and moving to the next step in the bargaining process prescribed by law—the establishment of a Public Interest Commission.

Under the Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Act, either party may ask for the establishment of a Public Interest Commission (PIC) in the event that the parties reach impasse and are unable to reach an agreement. A PIC consists of a Chair named by the Labour Board and one representative from each side (union and employer). Once the Commission is created, its representatives set dates for a hearing in which both parties submit arguments and documentation in support of their respective positions. The PIC then issues a recommendation for settlement. The recommendation is non-binding. A PIC is not an arbitration board.

Be sure to go to www.ute-sei.org and www.psacunion.ca to see what PSAC-UTE has proposed, for more information, and to subscribe to regular updates. Also, should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

We will be sure to provide updates as things progress.

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CRA Bargaining: PSAC and UTE table wage proposals; agency fails to respond to member concerns – December 7, 2018

The PSAC/UTE bargaining team met with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on December 3-6 to continue negotiations for a new collective agreement. While there was considerable discussion on several matters of concern to our members, Agency representatives did not respond with meaningful counterproposals.

Click here to see the wage proposals we made to the agency.

The PSAC/UTE wage proposal aims to: (1) Achieve fair annual wage increases that exceed current inflationary trends; and (2) Introduce a market adjustment that would close the gap between CRA workers and their former co-workers at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) was a government agency that was split into the CRA and CBSA in December 2003. Over time, this led to vastly divergent pay for workers doing similar work in each organization. PSAC/UTE believes CRA workers deserve to be compensated fairly. Agency representatives committed to providing a response to the union wage proposal at the next bargaining session in January.

Key concerns still not addressed 

The PSAC/UTE bargaining team also reiterated previously tabled priorities for this round of bargaining:

  • Increased work-life balance, with an emphasis on improved access to leave.
  • Improved conditions for call centre workers, including scheduling rights and better protections.
  • Protections against excessive term employment, along with more permanency and job security.
  • Protections against the expansion of shift work, as well as new rights for employees scheduled to work evenings.
  • Union rights in the workplace, consistent with what other federal employers have agreed to.

While there was some constructive discussion around call centres and family-related leave, the CRA ultimately provided little of substance in response to the bargaining team’s various proposals. The only progress made during this session pertained to some ‘housekeeping’ matters.

The bargaining team is scheduled to return to the table the week of January 21. PSAC and UTE are calling on the CRA to return to the table in January ready to address these key concerns for our members.

Be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca for more information and to subscribe for regular updates. Should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

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CRA Bargaining: PSAC and UTE push for job security and new protections – October 26, 2018

The PSAC/UTE bargaining team met with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on October 23-25 to continue negotiations for a new collective agreement. While the team raised a number of key issues like job security, scheduling protections, and improving working conditions in call centres, the employer did not move to resolve them.

Job Security

The team tabled proposals concerning the Workforce Adjustment Appendix (WFA) in our collective agreement. Our WFA proposals would enhance job and income security for employees, and would ensure greater options for any employees that are declared surplus in the future. The team also proposed changes that would minimize favouritism and provide for recognition of employees’ years of service with the Agency.

Hours of Work

Presently, CRA employees fill thousands of evening shifts, with new requests for evening and/or weekend work being submitted to the Union by the Agency on a monthly basis. Moreover, the employer indicated in bargaining that as a result of service renewal, they are interested in increasing evening shifts. In response, the bargaining team made it clear to management that the collective agreement must include new protections around the scheduling and assigning of hours of work.

Call Centres

The team had considerable discussion concerning the terrible working conditions in CRA call centres across the country, and the need for new rights for those working in those centres.

The bargaining team is scheduled to return to the table the first week of December. PSAC and UTE are calling on the CRA to return to the table in December ready to address these key issues.

Be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca for more information and to subscribe for regular updates. Should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

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PSAC Dental Plan Arbitration – October 2nd, 2018

After lengthy negotiations and an arbitration process, PSAC has won a major victory for the Public Service Dental Care Plan, which will result in substantial improvements for your coverage.

“The government dragged this process out by trying to get us to accept reduced coverage for our members,” said Chris Aylward, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “But our position has always been that our members deserve better, and I’m very pleased that the arbitration panel agreed with us.”

The major highlight is a 47% increase to the annual maximum for routine and major services. The current maximum of $1,700 per year will gradually increase to $2,500 per year as follows:

  • $2,000 per year starting on January 1, 2019;
  • $2,250 per year starting on January 1, 2020; and
  • $2,500 per year starting on January 1, 2021.

Additionally, as of January 1, 2019, the following changes will be made:

  • Dental implants will be covered. Implants had been partially covered by deeming them to be another procedure (i.e. bridge or denture). This would often lead to gaps in (or problems with) coverage. They are now covered in their own right.
  • Coverage for replacement fillings for children will be possible 12 months after the initial filling was done (instead of 24).
  • Congenitally missing teeth will be covered until age 21 (up from 19).
  • Coverage during suspensions is improved.
  • An allowable break in service to become eligible for the plan is extended from 5 to 7 days. Ability to have coverage for extra scaling approved retroactively. Currently, this may only be approved going forward.

The full text of the new dental plan will be posted online in the near future.

The government made a large number of proposals to the arbitration panel that sought to weaken the dental plan. Very few of them were accepted and the ones that were accepted are small and have a very minor impact on plan members. These are:

  • Charges for oral hygiene instructions will now be limited to once per lifetime per adult (and remain once per year for children).
  • Coverage is eliminated for minor issues such as:
    • The assistance of a second oral surgeon.
    • Dental professional peer consultation.
    • Trauma control if done at the same time as treatment for caries or pain control.
    • Enlargement of the canal or pulp chamber as a part of dental treatment separate from doing a root canal.

Any other proposals that are not mentioned above will remain status quo without change.

For further details please visit the PSAC National Website.

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UTE Bargaining Update – September 11-13th, 2018

Our PSAC/UTE Bargaining Team met with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on September 11-13 to continue negotiations for a new collective agreement. While some matters were resolved with respect to leave without pay and leave for staffing processes, the CRA spent considerable time focusing on employer proposals.

We again pointed out to the Agency that we are interested in improvements for PSAC/UTE members at CRA, and will not take steps backwards. With respect to our key issues, we again reiterated that the following matters need to be resolved:

  1. Precarious work: CRA has one of the worst track records in the public service when it comes to term and student employment.
  2. Hours of work: Issues have arisen around hours of work, with employees being increasingly scheduled for evening work.
  3. Call centres: Many problems that require resolving within call centres.
  4. Work-life balance: Staffing issues and increased work-life balance.

We will be tabling wage proposals at a future date, once we have had the opportunity to fully discuss our non-economic proposals and have employer payroll data. We are scheduled to resume negotiations October 22nd. We’ll be sure to provide updates as we progress.

As always, membership solidarity and support are the key to us achieving a fair contract. Together, we can make CRA a better place to work.

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UTE Bargaining Update – June 21, 2018 & July 6, 2018

Our PSAC/UTE Bargaining Team met with the CRA on June 20th and 21st to commence negotiations for a new collective agreement (as our current agreement expired on October 31, 2016). Our Team made clear to the agency that, while the union is ready to negotiate in good faith, we are not interested in steps backwards for our members and are looking to achieve improvements in this round of bargaining.

We exchanged our non-wage-related proposals with the Agency. A copy of our proposals and those of the employer can be found here. We will be tabling wage proposals at a future date once we have received and analyzed employer payroll data. Some of the highlights of our proposals of particular interest to the Hamilton local include:

  • Employees in Call Centers who are required to staff the telephone lines be entitled to additional rest periods of 5 minutes per hour.
  • Employees working in a temporary position for three (3) years, or in concurrent temporary positions for three (3) years, shall be offered a permanent position. The hours associated with the position shall be consistent with the hours of the temporary position held at the time of conversion.

We held further negotiations from July 3rd to 5th. Topics discussed included:

  • Increasing work-life balance for our members.
  • Vacation scheduling
  • Poor working conditions in call centres
  • Excessive term employment
  • Evening and shift work

Further negotiations are now scheduled for September. We’ll be sure to provide updates as we progress. As always, membership solidarity and support are the key to us achieving a fair contract. Together we can make CRA a better place to work.

Be sure to go to www.ute-sei.org and www.psacunion.ca for more information and to subscribe for regular updates. Also, should you have any questions please contact your UTE Local President.