The disastrous Phoenix pay system, which has caused so much difficulty for tens of thousands of federal public service workers, has also created problems for the collection of union dues.

Our bargaining agent, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, is responsible for collecting our members’ dues and then rebating the appropriate share to the Agriculture Union and to your Local.

Thanks to screw-ups with the Phoenix system, the PSAC is reporting that dues are not being deducted from the pay cheques of many members. This is creating difficulties on several levels.

When dues are not received, a worker is not considered a PSAC-Agriculture Union member in good standing. That means those members lose benefits that come with union membership, including the right to vote in union elections or attend conferences and conventions. In addition, the financial loss to the Local from reduced rebated dues makes it difficult to provide normal levels of member service.

Finally, affected members will have to pay uncollected dues once deductions are reinstated – a situation nobody wants.

There are TWO STEPS affected members should take to deal with this unfortunate situation…

First, in all cases where members are no longer having union dues deducted because of Phoenix, individual members need to ensure they have a Pay Action Request (PAR) filed with the Pay Centre. Submitting a PAR is the only way for the employer to know that a member’s dues have stopped and that they need to take corrective action.

As for the arrears, the employer has been reminded over and over and over again that their responsibility is to restart the dues and leave the calculation of arrears to the PSAC. This is important as the PSAC has a policy of recovering no more than 12 months’ worth of dues from any members.

Second, it is impossible to determine if dues have stopped due to a Phoenix glitch or because the member is on leave, retired, etc.. To address this, the PSAC has created an online form whereby a member can request to remain in good standing in absence of union dues.

This includes Agriculture Union members who have seen their dues cease because of a Phoenix-related problem. The PSAC will receive, process and respond to the Phoenix-related requests.

The form can be found HERE on the PSAC Web site.