Union fights for federal employees denied collective bargaining rights

PSAC says legislation that doesn’t give employee status to part-time public servants violates their charter right to freedom of association

A large national union is challenging the definition of who constitutes an employee under federal jurisdiction in court.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) says the definition of employee in the Public Service Labour Relations Act is too restrictive and denies some public service workers the freedom of association they are guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The act’s definition of employee exludes student, casual and short-term workers from access to collective bargaining rights. As a result, workers in these categories can’t become members of a union and the PSAC has filed a challenge in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, arguing this violates their charter rights to freedom of association.

“It is time for the federal government to accept that the charter is for all members of Canadian society including federal public service workers,” PSAC National President John Gordon said in a statement. “For the federal government to deny any worker a fundmental freedom guaranteed by the charter sends the message that the federal government believes the charter can be ignored. We do not agree and we intend to fight for the right of these workers to become union members and to bargain collectively with their co-workers.”

Latest stories