Which union do I belong to, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) or the Union of Safety and Justice Employees (USJE)?

You belong to both PSAC and USJE. The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is the umbrella bargaining agent for our members and most other federal government workers. USJE members are automatically also members of PSAC. One of Canada’s largest unions, the PSAC is an umbrella union for 17 Component Unions like the USJE, which are largely organized along Departmental lines.

USJE is the expert when it comes to dealing with your workplace issues. We know the culture and the players within the Departments. USJE Local Executive Members, the National Executive and National Office staff provide direct workplace assistance on such matters as grievances, health and safety, labour-management consultation and local administration.

The PSAC, on the other hand, is the expert when it comes to dealing with your ultimate employer — the Government of Canada. The PSAC is recognized by the government as the bargaining agent for USJE members. It stickhandles issues such as job security, pensions and pay equity.

Together, the USJE and PSAC are able to provide a much higher level of service, technical expertise and financial support than if our membership was divided into smaller unions or bargaining agents.

What is the USJE National Executive?

Our National Executive is made up of the National President and 16 Regional Vice-Presidents (RVPs), one of whom also serves as the National Vice-President. The National Executive is our union’s governing body between National Triennial Conventions. RVPs are themselves USJE members, directly elected by delegates at the National Triennial Convention.

Regional Vice-Presidents represent both specific groups of USJE members and defined geographical regions of the country. They have specific responsibilities for members in their area of the country. It is the responsibility of the RVPs to ensure that concerns and problems of the membership are brought up at the national level and that decisions, answers and new developments are transmitted back to the local level.

The National Executive meets a minimum of twice a year to oversee the operation of the union and ensure it remains accountable to the membership.

What have unions done for us?

The Canadian labour movement has been a pioneer in almost every major social, political and economic advance in this country. Major gains won by unions like us are shared today by all Canadians. Often, the role of organized labour has been taken for granted. The labour movement has played a key role in such things as:

  • reduced work hours
  • the five-day workweek
  • a minimum wage
  • medicare
  • workers’ compensation
  • old age pensions
  • maternity and parental leave
  • equal pay for work of equal value
  • unemployment insurance
  • human rights legislation

What are union dues?

In Canada, the union dues paid by all workers in a unionized workplace flow to certified unions as a result of a Supreme Court Decision from 1946, known as the Rand Formula. It is this system of dues collection that funds union priorities identified by the members.

In every union, it is customary to divide dues between the Local Union and the National Union. However, because we are a Component Union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, our members’ dues are split three ways.

Dues are deducted every pay by Treasury Board from a member’s pay cheque and forwarded to the Public Service Alliance of Canada, with the Component share being sent to us, then we forward Locals their portion of the dues.

If you have a question about your dues you can send it to: usjemembers_membressesj@psac-afpc.com

What are union dues used for?

Union dues are the lifeblood of every union. Each pays his or her fair share, so that everybody gains. The broad range of services and benefits members receive are thanks to the dues that are paid to the Union. These include:

  • collective bargaining for improved wages and benefits;
  • workplace representation;
  • grievance and adjudication handling;
  • internal and external communication of workplace issues;
  • formal meetings with senior management;
  • ·lobbying of politicians – encouraging them to make changes that will ensure our member’s workplaces are safe and healthy places to work;

AND for members in good standing (card signing members):

  • union education courses;
  • specialized training and representation in such areas as health and safety and human rights;
  • member discounts on travel, fashion, entertainment and more.

Along with their dues payment, USJE members in good standing get the opportunity to have a full say in the structure and activities of our union. And, let’s not forget that dues are also tax deductible.

If you haven’t signed your card and would like to, contact your Local Executive.

What are Rands?

Simply put, Rands are employees who, while paying dues, have never formally joined the union certified to represent their workplace interests by signing their union card. One might ask then, if they have never formally joined the union, why should they pay dues? They pay dues because regardless of whether they have officially joined the union by signing a union card, they fully benefit from being a member. They benefit from the Collective Agreement negotiated by the union and all of workplace benefits that this entails.

Where does the word Rand come from?

In 1945, more than a half century ago, 17,000 Ford workers in Windsor, Ontario launched a strike for union recognition. The dispute was particularly lengthy and nasty. It swiftly became a national issue, symbolic of the struggle by Canadian workers to gain a fair share of the wealth created by their labour. The federal government, faced with growing social and economic damage caused by the Ford strike, intervened in an attempt to resolve the dispute. It appointed Ivan Rand, a highly respected Supreme Court Justice, to mediate the settlement. Justice Rand’s efforts were successful and the success was largely based on a new concept that came to be known as the Rand Formula.

What are Labour-Management Consultation Committees?

Labour-Management Consultation Committees (LMCCs) are mandated under the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act. The LMCCs provide another avenue to fight for our members. The purpose of union- management consultation is to facilitate communication on issues relevant to the workplace.

They are an official forum where management and employee representatives meet to exchange information on policy, procedures, conditions of employment and other matters of interest to the parties. They provide a forum for:

  • union representatives to communicate their views on subjects of importance to the membership
  • management to make known its plans regarding the subject under discussion, the reasons for taking such action and the expected results
  • discussing such items as proposed changes in conditions and programs; physical working conditions; equipment, tools and uniforms; and, training programs
  • alleviating fears and prejudices created by workplace rumours.

The only topics of interest or concern not appropriate for discussion in LMCCs are those that could lead to altering or changing the intent of a collective agreement. They may be held at the National, Regional/Divisional and Local levels.

How do I update my contact information with USJE and PSAC so that I receive important updates?

There are a couple different ways that you can provide us with, or update, your contact information.

1. Through the PSAC Portal

You can head to the Portal on the PSAC website and log in. If you have not yet created your account, it will take you through the steps to do so.

2. Through the USJE membership e-mail address.

You can contact us by e-mail at USJEmembers_membresSESJ@psac-afpc.com if you would like to provide us with/update your contact information or request a new membership card.

Who do I contact at USJE to find out about financial information such as dues and expense claims?

We have a general finance inbox at USJEFinanceSESJ@psac-afpc.com which is monitored by our finance department should you have any related questions.