Border guard rhetoric soars at Pearson airport protest – .

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Border guard rhetoric soars at Pearson airport protest – .


TORONTO – Border guards vowed to “close the border” – or come as close as possible to it legally – during a protest at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Monday.

The protest was a show of determination before unions representing some 8,500 Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers and customs officials were legally allowed to strike on Friday.

“We have screened every traveler for COVID, we have kept the border open, our employer will not even speak to us at the negotiating table,” said Mark Weber, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union.

This union and the Public Service Alliance of Canada say they have the right to strike as of August 6, just days before Canada reopens its borders to vaccinated American travelers.

“We have been without a contract for three years,” said Frances Baroutoglou, president of CIU France in Toronto. “Thanks to COVID, we have continued to keep the border secure. We have taken on additional tasks. We want a fair contract.

Dozens of workers, carrying sandwich panels and carrying banners, chanted: “Shut up! Close it! As they rounded an airport entrance Monday afternoon.

“Come on Friday, we are going to wreak havoc at the border,” Baroutoglou said at the microphone.

It is not yet clear what the union’s strategy will be in the event of a strike. There are over 1,200 entry points across Canada that could see an impact.

But despite the rhetoric, many border workers could be seen as essential, meaning they could slow down, but not stop, their work.

“The borders will work but there will be disruption,” Baroutoglou said in an interview. “We will be in a position where we can work to rule. Do our job but only in accordance with the law.

In question, according to a report of the commission of the public interest, it is the wages. The employer proposed increases of 2.8, 2.2 and 1.5 percent in the first three years of a settlement.

He says that corresponds to the 50 recent regulations in the public service.

But the unions want 4.4 percent more, arguing they need to catch up with other law enforcement agencies like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The employer rejects the comparison.

Other issues include reducing harassment on the job, giving time to practice with firearms, and ensuring that no officer will work alone.

“We have to make sure people feel safe at work,” Baroutoglou said.

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