By Letter to the Editor on June 25, 2020.
We recently observed National Public Service Week, a week to recognize the importance of federal public service employees and to honour their dedication to Canadians.
In Prime Minster Trudeau’s statement on June 14 he said “this year has been one of the most challenging in living memory, and [the public service has] been right there, working hard to help us all get through these difficult times.”
During the last three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the union representing a large portion of Canada’s public service, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, have been on the front lines risking possible exposure to the virus and delivering emergency financial support to millions of Canadians. Here in southern Alberta, PSAC members continue to inspect our food in our local meat plants, protect our border at the Coutts port of entry, support the Canadian Forces Base at Suffield, and develop innovative research at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre. Many other local members at Service Canada and Canadian Revenue Agency have also stepped forward to do completely new jobs wherever there has been a need to support the government’s relief efforts.
140,000 public servants across Canada are in collective bargaining negotiations to reach new, fair collective agreements to replace those that are long expired. They continue to provide critical services, without a new contract, with many not seeing wage increases for up to four years. These are the same workers who continue to experience four years of Phoenix pay nightmares and have yet to be compensated for their hardships.
I hope the federal government recognizes the value of its public servants beyond National Public Service Week and that the prime minister lives up to his promise to respect the public service by getting back to the bargaining table with a mandate to reach a fair settlement to the benefit of PSAC members and all Canadians.
Lethbridge and District Area Council President
Public Service Alliance of Canada