With the Non-Public Funds (NPF) strike in the fourth week, members on the line are seeing pressure tactics and intimidation from both the employer and police, and the increasing use of replacement workers — civilian workers on military bases in Bagotville, Kingston, Montreal, Ottawa, Petawawa, St. Jean, and Valcartier continue to fight for fair wages in line with the core public service, a national pay grid, and better job security.
The employer, the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS), says they’re ready to get back to the table, but they continue to drag this strike out by bringing in replacement workers rather than meaningfully negotiating a fair deal for striking workers.
CFMWS refuses to give workers a national pay grid to correct the wage disparity with the core public service and between the different bases. A national pay grid already exists for non-unionized NPF staff — and the rest of the federal public service — so why is the employer so determined to exclude the lowest paid workers?
Striking workers face police aggression
This week, members took their message to the Joint Intelligence Operations Centre in Ottawa. While the NPF may be willing to ignore the struggles civilian members on military bases are facing, more than 200 members participating in our action sent a clear message to Minister of Defence Bill Blair that he needs to get involved and make this right.
As part of a growing trend of heavy-handed police activity on NPF picket lines, PSAC NCR Regional Executive Vice-President Alex Silas was arrested prior to our scheduled press conference Wednesday. Silas was later released by Ottawa police late Wednesday evening on criminal charges surrounding NPF workers’ legal right to strike.
Friends and supporters were gathered outside the police station to celebrate his release. This attack on workers' rights will not weaken the resolve of PSAC-UNDE members on strike for a fair contract. PSAC's legal team will be representing him and defending the rights of all workers to take lawful strike action.
PSAC also has the support of labour leaders across the country, including the Canadian Labour Congress, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, Canadian Association of Professional Employees, Justice for Workers Ottawa and the Ontario Federation of Labour, who condemned the overreach of Ottawa police at a lawful picket line
Members making history
Last week, hundreds of PSAC-UNDE members, with the support of our Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) affiliates, disrupted the parade of new recruits at St-Jean Garrison, outside Montreal. The historic action was our first escalation directly on a military base, with hundreds of members protesting the one-way negotiations that led us to take strike action.
In Toronto, members from across the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton-Niagara area held a solidarity picket outside Denison Armoury Drill Hall where the employer was hosting an event. Members handed out flyers and placed them on all the cars in the parking lot. They also spoke with workers and the public to build support, raise awareness, and collect petition signatures.
The actions and escalations will continue until the employer agrees to get back to the table with a solution to the long-standing problem of unfair wages.
Support NPF workers on the line
PSAC-UNDE members are staying strong on the picket lines despite intimidation from the employer and police. But we still need support to boost members’ morale and help them to keep fighting. Here’s how you can support our members on strike:
- Pledge your support to striking NPF workers by sending a message of solidarity and encourage others to do the same;
- Add your name to the growing list of people telling the government to do better for striking NPF workers;
- Show your support with our virtual background, social media profile photo, and printable poster;
- Check out our picket line locations for information on where you can join workers on the line;
- And refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for the latest information on the strike.