Members of the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) rally along Huron Church Rd in Windsor on January 12, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News

Border Agents Rally For New Contract (GALLERY)

Members of the union representing Canada’s border¬†officers defied the cold to show disapproval of stalled contract negotiations.

Well over a hundred members of the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU), which is part of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, marched near the Ambassador Bridge Friday to call attention to a lack of progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement. Union members have been working without a deal for over three years.

Participants waved flags and banners and chanted as dozens of drivers and truckers honked their horns in support.

Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the CIU, says the purpose of the rally was to call attention to the negotiations and not disrupt border operations.

“This is the biggest port on the Canada land border, and we want to send a very clear message to the government and the CBSA, that it’s been over three and a half years without a contract. We want to be respected,” says Fortin.

Some of the issues in negotiations include urging the CBSA not to use technology as a reason to cut positions and put border security at risk, according to the CIU. More glaringly, according to Fortin, is the desire to put CBSA officers alongside other law enforcement personnel as far as wage parity is concerned.

“We want to have the working conditions that police officers are getting because at the border we are police officers,” says Fortin.

Fortin says they are not yet considering a strike, but the union is working out strategy and may consider strike action later in the year if there is no progress in getting a new contract.