Union hung up on BlackBerrys

PSAC wants clear expectations on off-hours use of device
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/04/2009

A manager expecting an employee to reply to an e-mail on her BlackBerry at 11 p.m. had better start paying for the employee’s availability, said the union representing federal public sector employees.

With seven bargaining units currently in contract negotiations, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) said it wants to change two collective agreement provisions in an effort to curb widespread BlackBerry use within the bureaucracy.

“E-mails are being sent at all hours, day and night. If people get them, if the BlackBerry is sitting on your dresser when it goes off, it’s going to wake you up. And often, you feel you have to respond to it right away,” said Maria Fitzpatrick, the incoming regional executive vice-president for PSAC’s national capital region.