Union forces Parks Canada to cry uncle: Employer concedes before court that contract workers are Parks employees

    HALIFAX, Oct. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - Parks Canada Agency's strategy of
replacing its unionized employees with contract workers has taken three steps
    After years of insisting that three contract workers are employees of the
employment contractor, Parks Canada Agency has finally been forced to admit
that the three are, in fact, Parks Canada employees. At the request of the
three workers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) provided support
in taking one of their cases to the Tax Court as a test case after seeing an
increase of members' work being handed over to contract workers.
    "The Tax Court, on the consent of Parks Canada Agency, determined that
these workers are employees of the Agency," said PSAC National President John
Gordon. "This means that their working conditions and treatment at work should
be the same as those of our union members working for Parks Canada."
    The PSAC is currently in collective bargaining with Parks Canada Agency
and has been fighting against contracting out of unionized jobs to the private
sector. Parks Canada has transferred work done at one location in Halifax to
Citadel Regimental Association. PSAC and the affected employees believe that
these jobs were still being managed by Parks Canada, and pursued the position
before the Tax Court that Parks Canada was the actual employer.
    "We strongly believe that attempts by employers like Parks Canada Agency
to sell off jobs to the lowest bidder and then continue to manage that work
must stop," said Jeannie Baldwin, the PSAC executive vice-president for the
Atlantic region. "We'll do what we need to do to defend our members' work."
    Employees of Halifax Citadel Regimental Association are paid inferior
salaries, as much as $30,000 a year less than PSAC members doing the same
    "We can be proud of the representation we've provided these workers,"
said Daniel Kinsella, President of the National Component of the PSAC. "It's a
real win for all Parks contract workers who are struggling to improve their
work situation. These workers should be members of PSAC with full rights to
union benefits and salaries. When federal agencies and departments hive off
work to the private sector through dubious contract arrangements and attempt
to absolve themselves of employer responsibilities, it is our role as the
union to challenge and push back. This time we've won a great victory which
really ought to have a chilling effect on further outsourcing of public
service work. The employer shouldn't be surprised when we keep putting this
issue on the bargaining table."
    Baldwin said that the PSAC will move forward on this matter. "The Tax
Court was just the first step in our fight back against Parks Canada Agency's
contracting out of PSAC members' work. This fight is just beginning."
    PSAC and its National Component currently represent about 4,500 workers
at Parks Canada Agency. Over the past 13 years, Parks jobs handed over to the
private sector to provide the same services have increased significantly
across the country. The union is committed to defending its members' work, so
that Canadians get the quality public services they deserve.

For further information:

For further information: Joselito Calugay, PSAC communications officer,
(613) 560-4235, (613) 293-9324

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