In the spring of 2010, CEIU took action against the loss of 147 term and casual jobs at the CIC processing centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia. At the local, regional and national levels, CEIU pushed back to save jobs and maintain quality public services. This work has paid off: CIC Sydney will be hiring up to approximately 160 term staff to address the centre’s backlogs at CIC Sydney’s Case Processing Centre, Permanent Resident Card Centre and the Federal Skilled Workers Project.
“This is great news – for our local, our community and the people we serve,” said Local President Wilfrid MacKinnon and Vice-President Helen King, ”and we want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make it happen.”
The new staff will be terms and will be appointed from existing candidate pools. The majority will work in the Citizenship Program but other business lines will see some term staff increases. Hiring is expected to begin soon. The funding for the new positions is not permanent, however, and if further funding is not received before March 2011, the term positions will end.
“We are pleased with the news of more staff for Sydney,” said National President Jeannette Meunier-McKay, “but we will watch the situation carefully to see if more funding arrives next spring.”
The fight-back against the job losses in Sydney began in late March and was quickly followed by a community march organized by the local union. At the national level, the union appeared before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to argue against the cuts and held a joint media conference with supportive MP’s.
National Vice-President for Nova Scotia, Theresa MacInnis, congratulated the local on its victory saying, “They did a terrific job on this issue, and when all levels in the union work together like this, we can make a real difference.”
On a related issue, CIC announced that CIC Sydney term employees originally hired at the Federal Skilled Workers Project as “sunset terms” will now enjoy the status of regular terms, retroactive to June 26, 2010. This is an important development because periods of employment as a regular term count toward earning indeterminate status after three years while sunset periods do not. However, the Project itself is still being fully evaluated and no final decisions will be made on permanent positions until the Project becomes a permanent line of business.