Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers rallying near the Douglas Crossing Thursday morning said officers are getting “tired of the lack of respect that is shown to us from the employer.”

CBSA officers, which include individuals who work at airports and mailrooms, held signs and waved union flags along Highway 99 Thursday morning “in support of ongoing national bargaining efforts towards a new collective agreement.”

The rally began at 11 a.m. at Highway 99 and Beach Road.

Traffic flow was not impacted.

According to a news release issued by the Public Service Alliance of Canada Wednesday afternoon, the demonstration follows the launch of a coast-to-coast campaign by PSAC and the Customs and Immigration Union “to remind Canadians that Border Service Officers keep the country’s borders safe and that they deserve to be treated as law enforcement officers by the government.”

More than 8,000 BSOs have been without a contract since June 2014, according to the release.

“We’re now 3½ years without a contract and our officers are just getting tired,” said national vice-president of the customs and immigration union Rick Savage, who was standing with a group of approximately 20 CBSA officers near Peace Arch Park.

Savage said the union is asking for parity and salary equal to other law enforcement agencies in Canada, as well as “the 25 and out pension, which is basically across the board for all law enforcement agencies other than us. We’re asking for protections against unfair discipline.”

Savage said negotiations “broke down,” and union members are waiting a report from a non-binding arbitrator.

“Once that report goes back in, we will attempt to go back to the bargaining table with the employer,” Savage said.

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