Remote work must be negotiated at the bargaining table

To read PSAC’s release on the same subject:

Remote work must be negotiated at the bargaining table
December 14, 2022

Statement from Terry Gray, Claire Hurtig, Hassan Husseini, Pierre Lebel, Connor Spencer, and Jess Wallis, Unifor Local 2025 executive

Ongoing policies that require PSAC staff return to workplaces a minimum of 3 days per week are deeply concerning and have serious implications for all Unifor Local 2025 members. 

Let us be clear – unilaterally changing the terms and conditions of our members’ employment and imposing a mandatory return to offices is an egregious violation of workers’ collective bargaining rights. 

Remote work is a critical issue at the bargaining table this round not only for Local 2025, but for other staff unions as well as hundreds of thousands of workers from all federal bargaining agencies.

On December 8, Policy Options reported Treasury Board is expected to introduce a new order outlining how many days workers would be expected to come into the office, but that the announcement has been delayed.
This news came as a shock to Chris Aylward and PSAC. PSAC immediately confirmed with Treasury Board that no blanket mandate around return to offices for federal public service workers is scheduled.

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier has committed to bargain in good faith with Canada’s unions. Imposing a mandatory and arbitrary return to the office for all federal workers would fly in the face of that commitment. 
The PSAC, however, already imposed such a return for its own staff in April 2022. Curiouser and curiouser.

The uncertainty about remote and hybrid work and how it’s being unevenly applied across the PSAC is a major source of anxiety and frustration for workers.

That’s why Local 2025 is negotiating to enshrine remote work in our contracts; so that we can set rules around how these decisions are made, so that workers have a say in their working conditions, and have an avenue to advocate for themselves if they feel the policy is being applied to them unfairly.

There’s no doubt hybrid work is the way of the future for many workers, but the only place to make these decisions is at the bargaining table. 

To all 138 Local 2025 members who’ve continued to work day in and day out when times were tough to deliver essential services to PSAC members: 
Your efforts have kept PSAC above water during the pandemic, and we continue to negotiate better working conditions for all workers – whether you work remotely or at your workplace full time – that will provide fair wages in the face of rising costs, safer, more inclusive workplaces and more job security. 

It’s time for PSAC to deliver the respect you deserve, and to recognize remote work as a critical issue by bargaining in good faith.


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