April 27, 2015

Federal union targets Harper and Conservatives

Brian LilleyArchive

Big labour has declared war on Stephen Harper and his governing Conservatives ahead of this fall's federal election.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada, the biggest of the 17 unions representing federal government employees, has vowed to "beat back" the Conservatives in October's vote.

PSAC is in the middle of a convention in Quebec City where 700 delegates are meeting to plot strategy in defeating their employer.

The main issue for PSAC is the plan to replace an unruly sick day system, complete with bankable sick days, with a short term disability system.

The plan, being spearheaded by cabinet minister Tony Clement, promises to reduce costs.

Currently federal public servants have 15 million banked sick days, the equivalent of more than 57,000 years of work.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that PSAC's executives are fuming over last week's budget where the Conservatives booked $900 million in savings on the expectation of changing the sick days system.

“It is time to get every PSAC member to vote to rid Canada of the Conservatives once and for all,” PSAC president Robyn Benson said in an opening speech to the delegates.

“Never has political action been more important. We’ve had enough of the attack on labour rights and on equality groups.”

PSAC, which in the past has endorsed candidates running for the separatist Bloc Quebecois but not the Conservatives, claims changes brought about by the Harper government are an attack on federal workers.

A recent study found federal workers earn more and work less than the private sector workers that pay their wages.



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commented 2015-05-10 16:24:21 -0400
I wonder where the unionists will go when public service unions are outlawed as gangster controlled criminals? How many are there in total in public service.
what about the police unions? RCMP?
No wonder we were raped.
commented 2015-05-04 16:58:13 -0400
Does anyone really believe that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was intended to guarantee far superior rights, freedoms and benefits to government workers, at the expense of their private sector counterparts? Or is it just a flawed document? Are we to believe that our constitution intended that we be stuck with a corrupt senate because fixing the corruption would be impossible because of the way that it is worded? Or is it too just a flawed document? We currently have unions representing our health care providers, policy makers, the crown Attorneys Office, The BAR Association, our police, our courts, our arbitrators, our educators and every other level of public service. Since Justin Trudeau so regularly refers to his father’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms with pride, why don’t we all get into the habit of asking him to explain this differential treatment. Instead of saving the ‘Middle Class’, which he has great difficulty defining, why don’t we ask him to do something for the 70% of workers in this country who are taxed to benefit the other 30% because their rights have been guaranteed by the Charter … at OUR expense.
commented 2015-04-29 15:49:35 -0400
The union says: "We’ve had enough of the attack on labour rights and on equality groups.” Really?

Why then do we have a charter of rights and freedoms to protect labourers and other groups’ equality? Why do we need unions at all if that is their raison d’etre? If we are the employers, why do we allow these freeloaders to use strikes to make our lives miserable and poorer?

Plus…they have used union bargaining power and politicians’ hunger for votes to create wage INEQUALITY so that the private sector ‘employers’ (that’s us) make less hourly wages than our ‘employees’ (the public sector unions) whose wages we pay… AND to add insult to injury, our so-called servants (governments) bargain OUR money and power away to get union votes in order to reduce our voice and money further and further…are we crazy? Talk about the tail wagging the dog!
commented 2015-04-28 07:28:14 -0400
It should be illegal to unionize in the public sector. Conflict of interest, when you elect a government who you work for, and fund candidates who ultimately control your wages. It’s Mafia like and anti-democratic.
commented 2015-04-28 06:14:07 -0400
It’s time to bring in “right to work” legislation into Canada. Force the unions to sell themselves and any perceived benefit they think they can offer to the work force. Today union membership is mandatory in places that are unionized. The certification process is ripe with mobster style intimidation and corruption. The unions can use the funds seized from the worker, for any pet project or cause they desire, and have to answer to no one. With “right to work” legislation in place, forced union membership would be a thing of the past, and the unions would have show the worker some direct benefit, or disappear.
commented 2015-04-27 23:57:48 -0400
" In my opinion, the forced union membership and financial dues, as well as political meddling should be illegal under the law." Could not agree more Vlad.

Glenn my blood pressure went up just reading that,. Getting it from both sides! That is because you gave a shit Glenn, that was your mistake.

I have two relatives in the public sector union who abuse sick days. When ever they want to extend their already paid holiday time they pull out sick days to stay longer. They have no compunction. Maybe its not abuse, thats the system so you’d be dumb not to take advantage. If I don’t go to work I don’t get paid. I don’t remember the last time I took a sick day. Paid holiday, what is that? I have my unpaid holiday time when my work slows down. I deal with employers infringing on my dignity by quitting and finding a better job, when I think I deserve a raise I ask for one. If I don’t get it I make a choice.
Too many government pay checks, just too many, because it is on the backs of all of the rest of us.
commented 2015-04-27 22:44:33 -0400
Unions are a reality of the beginning of the 20th century, when the working poor had no rights and were pushed around by their employer. Nowadays, human rights are enshrined in every piece of legislation passed over the years with the purpose of defending the employees against violations infringing their dignity.

As a public employee I perfectly understand the need for changing the ‘entitled to my entitlement’ mentality and modernizing the rules, for the purpose of making the system financially feasible and bringing the perks of the public sector in line with the what the private workers receive.

It is disgraceful that PSAC is interfering with the political process, regardless of their affiliation. In my opinion, the forced union membership and financial dues, as well as political meddling should be illegal under the law.
commented 2015-04-27 17:55:40 -0400
You know what Gail….people use the term “mental health day”…..before I worked in the public service I have worked factory floors that were a branch office of Hell where fisticuffs were a daily event…..there is NOTHING in the private sector that can be compared to the stress of being a public servant…especially the front line workers down where the rubber meets the road…..they bear the brunt of everybody’s dissatisfaction with the government and have no power to actually do anything about it. At least on that factory floor nobody held it against you if you fought back.

It was one of the achievements I am most proud of as a union officer at Veteran’s Affairs in that I changed “being sent down to the phones by reverse order of merit” as an exercise in constructive demotion and the girding face of the process of attrition.

The fact was that it was the decent ones who would not go along with the corruption who were being thrown into that meat grinder.

Whenever employees went for stress leave assessment…the first thing the doctor would ask was….do you have leave time? why did you not take it?

I remember my first day at Veteran’s Affairs…I was assigned to be shown the ropes by the last honest to God Korean War veteran in the department…soon to retire….a crusty tough bandy rooster of an NCO.


He then turned to me and in the spirit of a training drill sergeant dressing down a new raw recruit said “YOU BETTER HAVE SOME STARCH IN YOUR SPINE OR THEY ARE GOING TO EAT YOU ALIVE

That was one side of the grinder…the other side was the political correctness of the Liberal appointed mandarins who distanced themselves from where the rubber met the road.

When I retired my blood pressure was at levels that should have been fatal.
commented 2015-04-27 14:49:37 -0400
Labour Rights = You have the responsibility to be at work when you are NOT sick. Of course you don’t like that word RESPONSIBILITY. You sure don’t mind throwing the word RIGHTS around though. You don’t like this Government – go and work for the Private Sector and see how you like working in that environment.
commented 2015-04-27 13:37:04 -0400
Unions should NOT have the right to interfere in the electoral system by financing candidates of which they approve. It skews the whole political system!
commented 2015-04-27 13:26:12 -0400
All taxpayers are feeling the pinch. It’s time these entitled idiots shared our pain. Just remember PSAC, you work for all taxpayers in Canada. A little less rhetoric and a few more solutions would help your cause.
commented 2015-04-27 13:10:38 -0400
They had better pray that their trying to overthrow the government works because if I were Harper and won reelection, it would be payback time.
commented 2015-04-27 13:08:00 -0400
Unions should not be allowed to interfere with or persuade or cause to persuade or influence elections period. The unions only represent their own self-entitled interests and the rest of us be damned. I left my union last October. The incessant mailings I kept getting trying to push me to vote liberal was, in reflection, such a lame & sad attempt at trying to control the masses in order to further the union’s cause it literally made me sick to my stomach. I worked myself out of my last union job because I wasn’t lazy. In my mind, that is poor work ethics and laziness.
commented 2015-04-27 12:17:09 -0400
I worked for a union once. I was constantly in trouble for getting so much work done that there wasn’t enough left for the person coming in after me. When I suggested cutting staff, you’d have thought I’d suggested cutting off limbs. I had to quit that job because I couldn’t make myself be that lazy and dishonest. I guess some people can live like that, but I couldn’t. Unions are the downfall of Western societies and these fat cats don’t want the gravy train to end. Time to rein them in along with their sense of entitlement before they destroy Canada. Stay the course, Mr. Prime Minister.
commented 2015-04-27 12:15:19 -0400
Glenn . . . for every conscientious govt worker you can site, there are likely a dozen who are just passengers on the ole Union Train. Through the decades have seen numerous examples of small workloads and duplication in the public sector.
Reality is . . . today Unions, especially in the Public Sector . . . spend way more time politiking and espousing nonsense than they do looking after the membership. They ensure mediocrity and fight like tigers to keep the incompetent employee on the Govt teat !
Been watching our Govt Union friends down south in Stockton, Orange County and Detroit? How did those public sector union members do? Didn’t they get 10 centrs on the dollar in Detroit? Think this won’t come to Canada . . . I suspect Ontario and Quebec will see this sooner than later . . . didn’t Ontario already bail out the Teachers’ Pension Fund?
commented 2015-04-27 11:55:57 -0400
Peter, I can recall colleagues who had as much as 35 years service without ever taking ANY sick leave. That’s a couple of years in unpaid potential benefit.

Not only that…there are…believe it or not…public servants who are such hard core workaholic careerists that they have to be ordered to take vacation leave because they have accumulated so much.

Propaganda and stereotyping narratives cut both ways.
commented 2015-04-27 11:37:34 -0400
Peter….as I said before…that is the accumulated amount of sick leave that COULD have been claimed but HAS NOT been claimed. It is a shell game at negotiation time…employers know that members will settle for fringe benefits that provide more security in lieu of wage increases. In lieu of a raise they offer an umbrella for a rainy day. The accumulated hours are there because they went unclaimed.
commented 2015-04-27 11:09:42 -0400
Let’s have a revolution. We can then hang all the people who think they are “entitled” to a life of luxury. Traitors and Liberals could be hung everywhere leaving only hard working people and our society would be far better off for it :)
A nation with no one wanting a free ride would be hard to compete against. I think left wing Liberals have gone way to far in almost every aspect of life in this culture. Time to cull the herd :))
commented 2015-04-27 10:43:43 -0400
Federal unions target Harper and Conservatives. Thanks for that story Brian.
I agree with Joan, public sector unions are a curse on the Canadian taxpayer.
Public sector unions are legalized extortion. Public sector unions have created an entitled Upper Class.
If as Glenn writes “sick leave is on a use it or lose it” basis, how is it there 15 million banked sick days?
This country could use a Maggie Thatcher.
commented 2015-04-27 10:38:56 -0400
Game on PSAC.

National President Robyn Benson, Chris Aylward, National Executive Vice-President, Sharon DeSousa, Ontario Regional Executive Vice-President, Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President, Prairies, Larry Rousseau, National Capital Region REVP, Jeannie Baldwin, Regional Executive Vice-President: Atlantic, Jack Bourassa, Regional Executive Vice-President, North, Bob Jackson, Regional Vice-President British Columbia.

Above is a list of PSAC pigs who extort money from taxpayers through government “negotiating”. The MSM calls it “negotiating”, but it’s really extortion.

And National President Robyn Benson, Chris Aylward, it’s time to audit your big fat ass – let the world see the slush fund that you run and how you screw over your own members – you disgusting pig!!!
commented 2015-04-27 10:14:32 -0400
When unions were first created, in England in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, they were a protection for the employee from, effectively, slave labor, and particularly child labor. They started guaranteeing [more] safe working conditions, fare wages, and fair working hours. They stood up for the worker against unscrupulous businesses and employers who would otherwise completely scam their “employees”.
Today, similar companies do exist. But today we also have a federal Labor Relations Board, and a federal statute of Labor Standards which dictate the minimums a company or employer must meet to be considered lawful… and, as I found out the hard way years ago, do not affect any collective agreement.

I have worked both as a union member and as non-union. By far, the higher wages for unskilled work went to the union shop… but there were drawbacks. Chances for advancement were near zero; regulations on what I could and couldn’t do were extremely tight; initiative was frowned upon, if not outright thwarted; and chastisement was brought upon anyone who even dared to voice an independent opinion. Conversely, in private employ (and now as a self-employed tradesman), I have zero job security or social safety net, my income is much lower, but my freedoms are vastly increased. (My taxes, both personally and corporately have also nose-dived!)

We now have laws to govern much of what the employer can do — so the purpose of unions is curtailed by law. But entities must justify their existence if they want to keep existing (Human Rights Commissions, anyone?), and now various unions have amalgamated to (ostensibly) consolidate their “power”… but which power is this? Bargaining power? or political power? Unions have NEVER had as their mandate (not once!!) political persuasion. I dare ANYONE to show me a union charter with that as one of the clauses! (Same could be said for the Supreme Court of Canada, but that’s another issue…)

Unions tell us that they exist to protect the worker… and, in principle, they do. But in practice, they steal money from the worker with little accountability (and they hate Harper for forcing them to show their books (surprise, surprise)), and are as subtle as a falling piano with their “suggestions” on how their employees should vote.

Unions have overstepped their bounds, and have overextended their use. Perhaps, if unions want to swing a political club, they should consider that the result may affect them — perhaps a legal curtailing of their authorities?
commented 2015-04-27 10:14:05 -0400
As a member of a union all my life.. I soon determined that unions pander to the lowest common denominator and as such never demand excellence from the employees, just more concessions from employers. The Federal and Provincial Services Sectors have grown in not only size but stupidity and rank right there with teachers, who constantly demand more, while delivering less and less. Computers, and learning on line will become more and more a staple of the public educational systems as one can reach out and tough an amazing number of students over the internet without the maintenance of physical plants schools and the associated costs. Federal and Provincial employees will also face being redundant by the further use of computers and interactive programing available on the net. When politics are mixed with union, it is my opinion we have become no better than political activists that are self indulgent! In my view, when unions like any other group participate in politics, they should be de-certified and made to register as a political lobby. Unions should stick to representing membership within the parameters of the Company and the treatment of their employees, anything more becomes intrusive and pejorative and that is unacceptable in this century. Tired of those with more wanting more at the expense of those who work in the private sector!
commented 2015-04-27 10:03:23 -0400
Unions represent corruption of the public/political culture complete with victim,bad guys and hero but as designed there is no hero just victims, this country is headed for hell like conditions(Middle East,China etc.) to far along now to avoid! Prepare for total tyranny no matter who wins next election.
commented 2015-04-27 09:55:28 -0400
Somebody remind me why we have a public sector union as I have forgotten over the years. Who was in power when this was done? If they are dead since then good riddance. All I remember was the job had an unencumbered length to retirement and as such the monetary rewards were less then other jobs that had no security. Look at us now. The plumb jobs have the highest pay and benefits to die fore. Our teachers are very busy planning their next strike for a raise they hardly have time to teach anything. “It is all for the students” is a load of cr.. and we actually could teach them more with fewer teachers if we changed the school venues to Electronic and video classes. How many teachers does it take to flip a switch? Only the best teachers would teach any class or year.
Just like the Postal Union broke their own back and we all moved to E’mail the teachers can learn the same and they all saw that happen through technology advancement. I wonder when the union workers will realize they are redundant?
commented 2015-04-27 09:39:12 -0400
The changes laid out here would have to come about by contract negotiation,they could not be done by legislation that the courts would uphold. They are a done deal and are those numbers are the cumulative effect of sick leave claimable but not used…which belies the narrative that public servants abuse sick leave. But this campaign is misplaced loyalty on the part of the union because the liberals have screwed them more often and more severely than the tories would dare consider doing.

The Liberals confiscated billions in surplus funds from the public service pension when Rosie Abella finally ruled on the “pay equity” issue.

Public Service sick leave is on a “use it or loose it” basis and some employees do use it…but that can count against you on performance evaluations and in competitions for promotion. So over a period of decades a pool of funds for the contingency of sick leave possibly payable builds up and becomes attractive to finance ministers looking for change under the sofa cushions.

I was an officer of two different PSAC components.
commented 2015-04-27 09:28:27 -0400
Peter, I shared your frustrations when I was a union member. As a conservative leaning voter, my views got me into a little hot water from time to time with my fellow workers. I strongly resented that a part of my union dues went to support political activities. While the PSAC membership is probably mostly left-leaning, I am sure there are a lot of members who are not and feel the same way.
commented 2015-04-27 09:14:19 -0400
Considering the purpose unions were created for, I’d daresay they should stick to that. Obviously they don’t stick to that, so I can’t imagine being a union member and have my dues go toward a political party that I don’t support. Unifor is another one who speak vehemently against Harper. Are all members of that union Liberal? I doubt it.
commented 2015-04-27 09:13:10 -0400
ALL LEAD BY THE NDP. I sure hope Harper has a game plan.
commented 2015-04-27 09:12:22 -0400
Douglas, I agree with you as you are using the sick days as it was meant to be used.

Though something to consider is that most private sector employers cannot afford and do not offer sick days and the ones that do offer sick days certainly cannot afford to allow the banking of them for an “insurance” sake or any other sake.

It is the people who work in the private sector that pay a substantial portion of the benefits the people in the public sector receive. As a private sector employee I would like to be able to get the benefits for which I pay others to have.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not attacking you. You sound like a responsible individual. I am just voicing my frustrations.
commented 2015-04-27 08:56:56 -0400
Union activity should be limited to contract negotiations and representing the worker in disputes such as unlawful dismissal, etc. No political activity should be allowed. When I retired from the Public Service I left with over 200 unused sick days. So what? It is supposed to be like insurance: there when you need it and a good thing if you don’t. I don’t think it was ever meant to be an entitlement or worth extra cash if you don’t use it. Long overdue for reform, in my view.