PSAC workers on the picket line on May 3, 2023.
PSAC workers on the picket line on May 3, 2023. Credit: PSAC / Twitter Credit: PSAC / Twitter

A tentative agreement has been reached between the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) and the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). 

PSAC-UTE members stayed out on the picket lines for three more days after the 120,000 striking PSAC Treasury Board members secured a tentative deal. The PSAC-UTE tentative agreement was reached in the early hours of the morning and marks the end of a two-week strike and more than a year and a half of bargaining. 

“PSAC-UTE members held the line together and secured a fair contract that keeps up with the cost of living, increased protections around remote work, and creates safer, more inclusive workplaces,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president, in an email that went out to media at 6 a.m. 

READ MORE: PSAC reaches tentative agreement for most employees

The tentative agreement, if ratified, will be in effect from October 2021 until October 2025, meaning that the deal includes an additional fourth year where the collective agreement would be in effect. 

The deal includes wage increases totalling 12.6 per cent for the 2021-2024 period. It also includes a wage increase for a fourth year, however the details of the fourth year’s wage increase are not public. Much like the Treasury Board’s deal, this agreement also includes a pensionable one-time lump-sum payment of $2,500. 

Union secures guarantees around remote work

Aside from wages, PSAC-UTE highlighted the agreement’s inclusion of improved telework language, hours of work, more inclusive workspaces and protections against contracting out. 

The new tentative agreement means that managers are now required to assess remote work requests individually. As well, managers are to provide written responses to remote work requests. PSAC-UTE said this will allow members and PSAC to hold the employer accountable to equitable and fair decision-making on remote work. 

Members under the agreement would also have the ability to request to start work as early as 6 a.m., which the union says would allow workers to tailor their workday to fit their personal and family responsibilities. 

The agreement also includes the highest shift premium of any PSAC collective agreement and a change in the vacation accrual. The threshold for accessing four weeks of vacation time sits at seven years in this tentative deal. PSAC-UTE said this represents the “the best accrual for PSAC members in the public service as well as improved access to family-related responsibility leave and bereavement leave.”

Language around safe and inclusive workplaces was also secured in the deal.  

“Everyone in the federal government can benefit from anti-racism and discrimination training,” said PSAC-UTE. “That’s why we’ve reached an agreement that CRA will review, share and encourage the integration of the recommendations emanating from the PSAC and TBS joint committee created to review the existing training courses related to employment equity, diversity, and inclusion, and to ensure employees are fully aware of training opportunities available to them during their work hours.” 

PSAC-UTE said they also negotiated paid leave for Indigenous employees to engage in traditional Indigenous practices, including hunting, fishing and harvesting. The union said this will allow for better recruitment and retention of Indigenous workers. 

In the event of layoffs, the agreement also includes language saying that preference for hiring shall be given to PSAC-UTE members over outside contractors. The union said this language will protect union members’  jobs and reduce contracting out in the federal public service.

“Union of Taxation Employees’ members have been there for Canadians during the pandemic not only to resolve tax issues, but to deliver vital emergency financial aid to millions of Canadians in record time,” said Marc Brière, Union of Taxation Employees national president.  “I’m incredibly proud of our members that supported our bargaining team on the picket lines to help us secure the fair contract that they deserve.”

Gabriela Calugay-Casuga

Gabriela “Gabby” Calugay-Casuga (she/they) is a writer and activist based in so-called “Ottawa.” They began writing for Migrante Ottawa’s radio show, Talakayang Bayan, in 2017. Since then, she...