Reporter Notebook Public servants clamming up about Phoenix plight
Why have federal employees stopped talking openly about the Phoenix fiasco?
It's becoming increasingly difficult to find a public servant who wants to go public. They still email our newsroom on an almost daily basis, but now they want anonymity.
"I worry about the repercussions it may have on my future career," wrote one pay adviser who has to deal with employees who are in tears over their pay issues. "I have heard of certain departments reprimanding employees that have talked against the pay system."
One woman who's been unable to retire due to a Phoenix-related problem told us her union representatives advised her not to talk.
A student who agreed to an interview with CBC earlier this week emailed the newsroom immediately after to request it not be aired.
"I do not feel comfortable having my interview broadcasted," he wrote.
black listing in some form happens all the time everywhere.
it's wrong and shouldn't happen but it does.
this is more than blacklisting imv though.
Is it somehow wrong to fire civil servants for having the wrong opinions, or being public about them?
guess the Liberals think like the Conservatives being public about them is wrong?
Why aren't the unions speaking out more for thier members?
Evidently, they can't really say "these abitrary and partisan terminations must stop!".
I wondered about that too. Maybe they're negotiating on the side for a solution. Or maybe they're also being silenced. With the silence from the membership, as outlined in the article, we really don't know what's happening here.
I'm a little surprised the unions aren't suing the ass off the government, holding demos outside (and inside) the offices of Liberal MPs, burning effigys of Liberals and carrying out mock executions.
What should the union(s) be speaking out about? Or suing the government for?
Has anyone been fired, or otherwise suffered retribution for speaking freely? I'm not seeing that in anything above.
For non payment of wages, bosses should be jailed. Immediately.
All those in favour?
We're not talking about all this "blacklisting" any more?
OK, we already know which side you're on Magoo.
I try to avoid "team sports".
Unions don't do most of their work in public. When it comes to individuals public battles can hurt individual cases and the unions will always place those individuals ahead of the wider point. When it comes to reprisals you can expect the private discussions to remain so for a while yet I would think.
I just don't get why PSAC - or whoever is representing the people WHO AREN'T BEING PAID THEIR WAGES FOR MONTHS AND MONTHS - isn't going ballistic on this stuff. They can do demos and what have you without identifying individual cases. What a disgusting outrage.
Maybe those who ARE getting paid are worried that if they support their brothers and sisters then they, too, will be targeted by this heinous Liberal regime.
I hope the Phoenix issues come to a closure soon for all the government members involved. The pension system should be the next issue that needs to be tackled; the wait list to receive your pension after retiring is between 6-9 months right now.
Let's at least have the context of what PSAC is doing: http://psacunion.ca/fix-phoenix
Please read the updates. I don't like the insinuation that the PSAC is not trying hard enough. This is a horrible accusation. they may not agree with you about the value of public protest but that does not mean they are afraid or whatever it is you are thinking.
The other union PIPSC has this to say:
I think it is unfair suggesting the unions are standing by. They will be doing what they think is best for each case. That may not mean making a spectacle if they do not think this would help that case.
Maybe YOU should actually read what I wrote instead of making your own insinuations. The fear I referred to was by the members.
And if it's "inappropriate" to criticize labour leadership for not standing up enough for their members, then no one will ever rise about pathetic and lowly trade union consciousness. PSAC's idea of "action" is for the victimized individuals to send a letter to the Minister, ffs, i.e., for those victimized to identify themselves to their employer.
I suppose that's fine for NDPers who insist that THEY have the right to monopolize the political actions of the membership (of the trade unions) but others, outside the echo chamber, don't agree with this selfish view.
PIPSC seems to be doing a better job. I suppose that's also "a horrible accusation" against PSAC as well? OMFG.
Both unions are under collective agreement and therefore are obligated to take any disputes arising under the collective agreement forward through the grievance procedure. I am sure that there are people in both unions who would like to take this dispute into the political realm but when your employer is the government any political action is bound to walk along a line that is perilously close to illegal job action.
Yeah, OK, agreed, "illegal" job action is, well, illegal. So a demo outside a Liberal Constituency office is also illegal? A picket at a Liberal fund raiser is illegal? Work to rule is illegal?
Saying anything other than "Yes Sir" or "No Sir" or "Three bags full Sir" is illegal? I don't think so.
Civil servants are already treated like shit. Now they're expected to swallow whole mouthfuls?
Un. fraking. believable.
You just repeated the accusation here.
And you deny it. You say things but do not accept responsibility or feedback for what you said.
José Bové, European Parliament member, apprehended by Canadian Gestapo, [i.e., Customs] prevented from speaking at Canadian meeting and will be forcibly removed from the country.
Liberal regime in Ottawa: "Round up the usual suspects. And keep an eye on those "suspicious" foreigners."
See European Member of Parliament forced to leave, etc.
This is a smear on the unions. Too bad you do not get it. This is the kind of shit normally not tolerable on a progressive site.
You don't have a clue what the unions are doing and sitting from your armchair are criticizing them becuase they are not using the tactics you want and you think are effective.
Let me be reallly, really blunt -- the unions are the membership and they are supporting the membership and you need to check your penchent for judging them based on whatever you see in the MSM. Unions are democratically controlled -- if they did not do what the membership wanted the leadership would change. I am tired of critics of unions carping on saying that they have no mandate to do what they are doing or that they are not doing what their members want -- it is the usual anti-union smear designed to deny the voice of working people.
You might want to consider that the unions are discussing strategies for dealing with this issue and assume for a moment that they are doing this with concern for their members with a view to get the best possible result. You might also want to allow that your opinion of the best tactics may not be universally shared.
Your drive-by smear on NDP supporters here is not even relevant.
Your slander to the PSAC is completely uncalled for -- you should read before you attack:
Were you aware fo this? http://psacunion.ca/unions-file-court-application-force-federal
There are lots of PUBLIC updates and activity there from PSAC and others. You are probably unaware of the communications direct to members.
This all comes down to your desire to see public demonstrations in front of MPs offices and the union's lack of priority for your chosen tactic. They determined that this is not a bright idea. And I think they are correct. The context of the public opinion of unions, the current popularity of the government, the impression of desperation and a lack of other options when you demonstrate on the sidewalk, all are relevant.
You owe PSAC an apology here.
Step up and dial your attack back -- it is uncalled for. And you clearly know too little about unions to sit in judgment on a left of centre site. You have provided no evidence AT ALL that these unions are not putting a top priority on this issue, are doing anything less than the best for their members on the issue, or are not doing the right things.
Typical. Having been an active member of PSAC for over 10 years, I know of which I speak. And how typical is it that criticism of the actions of the union leadership is conflated with criticism of the membership or their organizations.
It's good to see PSAC has taken legal action. Funny how it took so many posts to pry that out of you.
If you were an "active member", wouldn't you have already known that?
Hilarious -- This is for the hall of fame.
You start the attack. I provide the link and then you tell me that it was up to me to walk you through it. Are you kidding?
I presumed that you would know this since you came here and launched your expert opinion about the PSAC. Now we see you are a disgruntled member. Before posting in public this smear you ought to have called your union rep or at absolute minimum gone to the PSAC site and read the page -- clearly marked -- on the topic.
Now here is a thing about bargaining, negotiatioons and legal action that apparently never occurred to you in your ten years having PSAC work on your behalf: when you have a legal action -- of any kind -- you may not be able to speak of all the details. You may be limited in strategies. It can harm you (even be considered bad faith) to do certain types of things.
Stop putting this on me. This is you. You attacked your own union in public -- saying now you did not know that it already had a page on the topic and that page clearly stated what it was doing including legal action. You did this with the ability to reach out to a local union rep and get the answer.
What you did here is dispicable -- you owe the PSAC an apology.
You could also say sorry to me for suggesting it was my responsibility but I am not holding my breath.
I think the point is less what he knows or doesn't know (after all, he didn't say he didn't know), but rather how it can be used to wind people up.
How is it that someone saying something that should have been known by someone familiar with the situation gets turned into "funny how it took so many posts to pry that out of you"?
Maybe it took so many posts because it took that long to realize what was going on here. But sure, let's spin it like Sean is out to hide something because that is the way to get under his skin.
You're presuming I'm still a member. All I said was that I had been an active member for many years.
You apologize for your incendiary remarks.
This is a thread started by a disgruntled EX (like it makes a difference) union member attacking his own union in public without any foundation and without any investigation.
This is a pointless smear.
It draws rabble into participating in an unjustified attack on a union from its own EX union member who did not even bother to assemble the facts.
Rabble needs to take a collective shower for this thread even being here.
This is not what solidarity looks like.
Bullshit. I am not a member either. Took me 30 seconds to find the page and another 15 seconds to locate the action.
You should be ashamed of yourself.
I am defending union workers, many of whom do their work without being paid and it is you being incendiary.
EDIT to ADD: I will then apologize to PSAC just for having read this smear and for the fact that it is here in a place that is supposed to be supportive of Labour. Criticisms of unions here, when needed, ought to be well founded and fair. This was not.
Another area for black listing is those working in Veteran Affairs. There is a massive back log there.
This doesn't make any sense. Black-listing is a kind of silencing. It can be overt or covert. Whatever difference I have with Sean we probably agree on that. The article that I quoted noted that those who were not getting paid were no longer willing to come forward. To me this is a red flag. Sean wants to give the benefit to the union leadership and their strategy. I wasn't. That's it.
Thing is, I know PSAC, having been a member and been shit on for raising my voice.
You need to explain yourself here. Why is a backlog equivalent to black-listing?
Not saying what happened to you was right -- just that evidence is needed to make accusations.
Since the union is using a legal process they would have advised the individuals not to speak publicly as it could hurt their cases. This would be an automatic thing and would be the correct advice -- not to litigate in public. If there is a legal decision then they woudl speak. If the government decides to settle they could demand that it be kept quiet. The decision to accept such a release would be up to the members involved.
I do not know what happened to you and I have seen some ugliness of my own within the union movement. But you should only make accusations you an back up. There are good people there and I am sorry if you were not dealing with better people.
Sorry for the confusion. I meant those working in Veteran Affairs have also been silenced by the government.
There is hardly any reporting from government workers on the backlog of veterans seeking support.
It has been a long day.
This is precisely the sort of thing I disagree with. The labour movement HAS to advertise its victories, and NOISILY, PIGGISHLY, and the interest of the whole membership trumps the interest of a single member. This is a good subject, IMHO, to argue about.
I'm not really interested in crying over spilled milk. I appreciate that you would address this, but it's unnecessary.
In fact, injustice in our own experience - lived injustice - is a powerful motivator to be a combatant, to choose sides, and never change sides.
well, OK. Without giving anything away, tell a story maybe. Find your own way to share something. Anything.
You military people. I think maybe you're loyal [to the state] when you dont't need to be.
This is where you misunderstand the labour movement. They are obliged by duty of care to look to the interests of their members -- specifically the ones who are agrieved. They cannot legally or morally put the wider struggle ahead of the members who come to them with a problem. If they ever do then they have wronged them. When you are a member you pay dues and those dues means that if you have a valid grievance that grivance must become more important than any political point the union would otherwise want to make. This is not just a quesiton of morals it is a legal obligation.
There are many reasons for this -- when a member goes to the union the union represents them. Many legal processes can only go through the union -- without any other recourse. They share confidential infomraiton with the union. The relationship is similar to legal council. You have to know that you can trust your representative to put you first. A union member has to trust that their union will put their issue ahead of other benefits to the union. Otherwise they are corrupt.
The union CANNOT ever be in a conflict of interest with a member.
If you want this discussion I am happy to have it. If you ever saw otherwise that is regretable but the union in this case must put the individuals -- those people not getting paid -- and the resolution of their cases ahead of whatever political noise they could be interested in.
I am sorry but if you do not understand this, then you do not know the first thing about the labour movement becuase this is the first and most essential thing.
Please is there some disease going around this site? Please have some standards for accusing other people without grounds. Webgear did not declare a reason and you should not make up one.
Just let Webgear speak for himself. He's quite able. All that I meant by my remark was that I don't doubt that the VA staffers have cause for complaint. I'm just interested in some details so that I might learn something new.
Of course I am not arguing that "in every case" , etc. But I think you know that.
The law trumps the interest of the membership, and of working people generally. I could not have put it better myself.
You are using the bourgeois legal system as an argument as to why a particular union cannot fight back, why they should not fight back. Of course the state finds a thousand ways to silence a union, to silence the celebration of victories, to silence all sorts of things.
Did you know that the first occassion when a union was recognized in law in Canadian history was a legal case in which an employer, or group of employers, I forget which, wanted to sue a union? Up to that time, unions were considered criminal associations, interfering with "trade" and so on. That was the height of bourgeois understanding.
So they allowed the legal recognition of a union. So the latter could be sued. lol. That's capitalism for you.
I have no interest in preserving the niceties of capitalist law. The whole fukcing thing needs to be destroyed. I want a government that is completely, utterly partisan for the general, best interests of working people. That should be reflected in everything - including labour law.
I think you and I disagree on that point. Cheers.
I guess so -- I respect the value of an individual's rights as well -- that the advocate not have a conflict of interest. If that is bourgeois so be it.
Ok, but when you say individual rights are "just as important" as collective rights (as I've outlined) and, furthermore, you live in a society that enshrines property rights as alpha and omega of the legal system, then you are enshrining the rights of bosses as well.
I like the Charter, our fundamental law, and all the rest of the important individual legal protections. Of course, plenty of those protections depend on one's ability to get good legal council - a premise which is simply a lie - but, leaving that aside, I am arguing for an enrichment of the law, the addition of new rights, and not the disposal of existing rights.
Well, except for property rights to social property like factories, buildings, etc.. I just don't see any other way to get government that properly represents the interests of the social class that I belong to. I think it's a delusion to imagine that society can be partisan for working people when the law isn't as well.
Well done, PSAC! Keep going. Get the members involved.
PSAC calls on Justin Trudeau to make good on his word