Support PSAC Commissionaires in Federal Tower

Unionized security guards began picketing federal offices Friday morning after Commissionaires BC locked out workers who guard and escort dangerous prisoners at Vancouver International Airport and the downtown Vancouver Immigration & Refugee Board facilities.

The lockout came after 40 Commissionaires BC security guards wore blue jeans to work as a one-day protest against failure of their employer to negotiate a first contract that addressed the guards’ safety concerns, says Dave Thompson, representative of the workers’ union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

“Commissionaires BC is acting outrageously by locking out security guards with years of experience who provide safety for the public because they wore jeans to work after trying to negotiate a contract for months without any progress,” Thompson said. Sound familiar?

After a frustrating year of bargaining in an attempt to win a first collective agreement the members were left no other option, but to serve strike notice effective Dec 1, 2008 at one minute past midnight. Hellenius points out “We haven’t had meaningful talks with the Corps since they walked out of the Conciliation process back on Sept 19, 2008.”

Thompson said the security guards wanted a collective agreement because they are primarily concerned about their own personal safety on the job, where they are not provided with any protective gear or weapons yet deal with violent individuals in detention daily.

The CBSA suspended the contract with the Corps for 3 months and hired another security firm known as Genesis to perform the work. In the meantime their members continue to be locked out.

CUPE 391 members have experienced the frustration and outrage of an employer and negotiators refusing to meet and negotiate a fair and equitable collective agreement. Please support our PSAC Local 20501 brothers and sisters anyway you can. CUPE 391 will bring the CUPE 391 “in support of ___________” posters if anyone wishes to walk with the PSAC Commissionaires. We will bring some sustenance on Monday December 7. The locked out members picket from 7.00 am to 3.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

The PSAC has filed a bargaining in bad faith complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board as well as other Unfair labour Practice complaints.” The union has also asked Worksafe BC to investigate. That investigation is underway.

Please remember how we were supported by others in our struggle and take some time to give back. This flagrant abuse of the Labour Code must not be ignored. If we allow this to occur on our patch without acknowledging and supporting the Commissionaires right to bargain a collective agreement, all labour will suffer. It will be taken as as signal that union busting is an acceptable labour practice. This employer may then impose even more intolerable portions of their agenda. If you give them a millimetre, they will take a kilometre.

See Members of PSAC Local 20501 (Mainland Commissionaires) serve 72 Hour Strike Notice for further information.

For more information of the encroachment of bargaining rights of PSAC on the Federal front, read Harper fails to recant cuts to pay equity and understand that, yes, misogyny is alive and well in the Conservative Party. This is why the Coalition proposal deserves consideration and support; to save what is left of rights for women in this country. See Global Gender Gap Index and Ratings to see how Canada compares.