Despite all the magic of social media, letters still pack a serious punch. A letter to the editor, to an MP, to your municipal councilor can make important inroads. PSAC members know more than almost anyone about the public services we provide, and we are best equipped to speak up and write up when these services are under attack.
I hope this letter finds each of you in good health.
I write to you today as a representative of over 3,100 federal public employees represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) in Prince Edward Island and with respect to our elapsed collective agreements with our employer.
We represent federal public employees at Service Canada, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and other government departments and agencies in PEI where our members have been without a new contract and many have not seen wage increases for up to four years.
PSAC was impelled by the lack of progress at the bargaining table to initiate strike preparations and our union was in the advanced stages of such preparation when the advice of public health officials warranted the closure of our workplaces in mid-March. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things within Canada and in our professional and personal lives. The pandemic has not changed, however, the status of contract negotiations between your government and its employees.
About a month ago the CRA put a call out for staff to volunteer to take on temporary positions as call centre agents. Many of my colleagues and I immediately volunteered to assist in answering calls for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This truly felt to many federal public employees to be an hour of need for Canadians. We were more than willing to roll up our sleeves and do whatever we can to assist Canadians during this unprecedented public health emergency. Each of us knew that we had the skills, knowledge, and capability to assist Canadians and took pride in answering the call. This has been working quite well. The Canadian public service has pulled together rapidly, efficiently, and with a great sense of duty, if not patriotism.
The public service has demonstrated great durability and adaptability to deliver new programs in rapid order. I am quite pleased at how brilliantly, quickly, cohesively, and purposefully public sector employees have pulled together to provide Canadians with world-class service delivery on behalf of the Government of Canada.
There is much good-will and positivity being generated among stakeholders of all stripes. We are working well and tirelessly together. We will continue to work well in the best interests of all Canadians.
It’s time for the federal government to continue this collaboration by heading back to the bargaining table and reach a settlement for PSAC members. On behalf of PSAC members in PEI, I ask each of you to please take some time to convey or reiterate to the President of the Treasury Board of Canada to review the Union’s demands and respond in writing. The value of the public service of Canada as a whole, as well as the value of these employment positions within Prince Edward Island need to be recognized and compensated as such.
Thank you for taking the time to review this letter. We look forward to your response.
President, PEI Area Council
Public Service Alliance of Canada