PSAC urging CFIA members to write Health Minister over inequitable and unfair implementation of the ‘alternation’ process

Our bargaining agent, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and the Agriculture Union are urging our members at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to write Health Minister Rona Ambrose to protest CFIA’s latest disregard for the wellbeing of its employees.

At issue is the Agency’s inequitable and unfair treatment of ‘affected’ workers who are placed on a surplus list as the employer continues to cut positions as part of the Conservative government’s attack on public services.

In April 2013, thanks to a grievance aggressively fought by the PSAC, the Public Service Labour Relations Board ruled that Treasury Board and departments had to set up an effective ‘alternation system’. Once on a surplus list, an affected employee had 120 days to make use of this alternation process to avoid layoff by swapping positions with a worker elsewhere in the federal government who is retiring or willing to quit federal employ.

However, CFIA administers its own unique alternation process that requires extensive assessments and manager veto with less time. So, Agency employees are not included in the alternation program or priority system with other federal departments.

And, with contract negotiations now under way between the CFIA and the PSAC/Agriculture Union, management is playing hardball by permitting only a 90-day search window for affected employees – a full month less than the period available elsewhere in the federal public service.

And to show just how unfairly Agriculture Union members are being treated, the smaller numbers of Agency employees represented by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada are allowed a full 120-day window.

This spiteful, inequitable and unfair implementation of the alternation process must be challenged.

The Agriculture Union is urging all our CFIA members to show their support for their bargaining team by sending a clear message to Ambrose, the Minister responsible for the Agency.

A form letter on the PSAC Website can be found HERE.