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Canada border strike ends in agreement after more than 36 hours of negotiations

Detroit Free Press logo Detroit Free Press 8/7/2021 Kyle Davidson, Detroit Free Press
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After negotiating for more than 36 hours, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and unions representing Canadian customs officers have come to a tentative agreement.

At 6 a.m. on Friday, about 9,000 CBSA employees began a work-to-rule strike, leading to backups and traffic issues at the border. 

During the strike, customs officers were asked to follow all policies, procedures and laws applying to their work and to perform their duties to the letter of the law. This included not working during breaks or unpaid lunches, not working over-scheduled hours, and asking every question in their manual at ports of entry. 

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By late night Friday, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union reached a tentative agreement with the CBSA. 

With the agreement comes an end to the work-to-rule strike and and ensures the flow of border traffic will return to normal as the Canadian government prepares to reopen its borders on Monday, according to a Public Service Alliance news release.


Video: U.S. Canada border closure update (WGRZ-TV Buffalo)

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“[Canadian Border Services Agency] employees have been on the front lines of the pandemic since day one, protecting our borders and keeping Canadians safe. But they weren’t receiving the support they needed from the government,” said Mark Weber, Customs and Immigration Union national president in a news release.

“Finally — after three years of negotiations — we’ve resolved long-standing issues that will go a long way towards making CBSA a better, safer place to work for our members," Weber said. 

According to a news release from the Public Service Alliance, the agreement includes:

  • A four-year agreement from 2018-21 with an average annual salary increase of over 2% per year
  • Better protections against excessive discipline in the workplace
  • The creation of a National Joint Committee to tackle workplace culture problems at CBSA
  • A paid meal allowance for uniformed members, similar to what most Canadian law enforcement agencies provide
  • A commitment letter to advance the work toward the introduction of early retirement benefits for CBSA employees 
  • A better grievance-handling process 
  • Domestic violence leave
  • Other leave and allowance improvements
a bridge over a body of water: Traffic is backed up on Interstate 75 leading to the Ambassador Bridge headed into Canada due to a Canadian Border Patrol strike, in Detroit on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. © Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press Traffic is backed up on Interstate 75 leading to the Ambassador Bridge headed into Canada due to a Canadian Border Patrol strike, in Detroit on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021.

Contact Breaking News Intern Kyle Davidson: kdavidson@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @jrndavidson.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Canada border strike ends in agreement after more than 36 hours of negotiations

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