After months of negotiations with the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, PSAC has reached impasse at the bargaining table. With a collective agreement that expired in 2018, the bargaining team representing workers at the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) made the decision to file for arbitration.
“PSAC members have felt the pinch of the rising cost of living as they wait for their collective agreement — that expired in 2018— to be renegotiated,” said Samali Okwir, the PSAC local President. “One particular member expressed that if she hadn’t been living in the same place for over 10 years, she would not have been able to afford to pay rent with her current salary. This is not acceptable.”
There are two bargaining units for OSFI staff: one unionized with PIPSC and one with PSAC. The PSAC unit represents 19 staff working at a lower pay rate, 90% of whom are women. Despite mounting pressure on OSFI, management is dragging their heels over small issues, and refusing to give PSAC members the benefits, such as higher meal allowances and retroactive performance pay, offered to the other unit.
“This is a fight for pay equity, similar to our recent strike at the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, a group primarily composed of women,” said Alex Silas, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President for the National Capital Region. “We would hope that the OSFI and Treasury Board would understand the importance of treating women in the workplace equitably. It’s time to apply this government’s commitment to gender equity concretely at the bargaining table to this group that receives less than their counterparts at OSFI.”
While time is running out, there is still an opportunity for the employer to do the right thing and give workers an equitable deal before arbitration. For OSFI, going through arbitration will be more expensive than the modest cost of addressing the inequities faced by PSAC members.