Charges dropped against Alex Silas, union leader arrested on picket line 

On February 7th, 2024, Alex Silas, recently elected as the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s National Executive Vice President, was arrested at a picket line for merely supporting striking Non-Public Funds (NPF) workers.   

In a heavy-handed response, five criminal charges were laid against Silas. Today, the Crown has dropped all charges.  

PSAC welcomes this decision since the arrest should never have been made in the first place. This was an intimidation tactic to demoralize hundreds of striking civilian military workers engaged in a legal picket outside the Department of National Defence’s Joint Intelligence Operations Centre in Ottawa. 

“These shameful intimidation tactics were used to discourage and instill fear in our members,” said Sharon DeSousa, PSAC’s National President. “We have a legal right to strike, and this union will continue to defend it. The Crown’s decision today is a victory for workers. I am pleased that Alex can put this behind him as we both plan for the future of this union.” 

Arresting a PSAC elected leader was a blatant attempt to discourage the union’s legal strike action and weaken its bargaining power. Further, the use of these tactics is a waste of law enforcement’s time and resources, causing delays to an already overburdened justice system.  

Today, workers can celebrate the lawful right to strike was upheld as a vital part of Canada’s democratic process. No worker should fear retaliation for exercising their right to take job action or support a strike.  

“I’m happy about this outcome,” said Silas. “I’m also very grateful for the support of my partner, my family and my union and for the outpouring of solidarity I received from the labour movement and my community. This situation has only strengthened my resolve. Our fight is a just fight. And we will continue to fight for workers everywhere.” 

Though always a last resort, strikes and other forms of job action are fundamental tools used in the bargaining process. PSAC will always defend workers’ legal right to strike and will continue to employ it to apply pressure on the employer whenever members give their authorization. 

5 Juillet 2024