The president of a taxworker union at Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) says there’s a concrete chance the union will strike this April, right as tax season gets underway.
President Marc Briere said the Union of Taxation Employees will walk off the job in April if the revenue agency does not compromise on the important issues of remote-work and wage increases.
“We don’t want [to strike],” Briere said to True North, “but it is.. right now a real, concrete possibility. Not a remote possibility, a concrete possibility in April.”
The union is undergoing strike votes to show its commitment to contract requests – that applicable employees are free to work remotely, and the group sees a pay raise.
Briere said he’s confident the strike vote will pass, enabling an April start, but that’s not the goal.
“The object, first and foremost, is to force the employer back to the bargaining table with a new mandate,” said Briere.
Union leaders are refusing policies the CRA has implemented, he said, including that workers spend 40% of their time, or 2 days per week, in the office.
Employees who worked remotely through the pandemic believe they should be free to continue working remotely – but the CRA hasn’t flinched.
“If they think we’re bluffing, they got that wrong,” said Briere. “If we don’t go back to the table in a timely fashion by April, when we finish our strike votes, this year they will be shut down with a strike on their hands.”
Briere told True North the union does not plan to compromise on remote work – saying leaders would refuse an offer to forgo remote work if it meant higher pay.
Negotiations have spanned a year, yet relations are worsening.
In January, CRA filed a complaint against the UTE, saying union leaders were violating standards of good-faith bargaining.
“UTE has clearly stated its intention to move to a strike position as soon as possible,” its statement said at the time.
In a February email to True North, CRA public affairs said the agency will require employees to return to the office.
While both parties hold fast to their positions, time presses on.
The union’s strike votes are scheduled to end April 6th.