The bargaining team for Agriculture Union members employed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is busy preparing for the next critical step in the lengthy negotiation process.

Our team is working on the submission they will put before a Public Interest Commission next March 30 and 31. If that seems a good time away, there’s a lot at stake.

In the year since talks for a new collective agreement began, our bargaining team has been resolute in pushing for a  wide range of improvements to wages and compensation, benefits and leave provisions, and measures to create a safer and healthier workplace,

Under federal labour relations law, a Public Interest Commission is established once it becomes apparent that negotiations have reached an impasse. A three-person panel comprises a neutral chair and one nominee from union and management. Both negotiating parties then present submissions to PIC outlying the rationale for their respective contract positions. While the PIC’s recommendations are non-binding, they usually form the basis of renewed face-to-face bargaining.

Our bargaining agent, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, last August asked for a PIC to be set up. CFIA management had opposed this move but was ultimately overruled by the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board late last year.

Now that employer roadblocks to the establishment of a PIC have been cleared away, we are hopeful that the Commission will hand down its recommendations sometime this spring.

In the meantime, we will keep our members up to date in this Web site. Information on the ongoing status of CFIA negotiations can be found on the PSAC Web site HERE.