Marianne Hladun slams offensive and inaccurate op-ed

The News Advertiser, a community paper based in Vegreville, Alberta, published an article on October 13, 2014 criticizing PSAC’s bargaining proposal and claiming federal government employees could soon have more days off than days on the job. PSAC Prairies Regional Executive Vice-President Marianne Hladun fired back at the offensive and inaccurate piece.

Leave it to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to get the facts wrong. Gregory Thomas’ op-ed (“Paid days off to mourn the death of imaginary friend”) is not only downright offensive, it’s entirely inaccurate.

Even simple addition seems too complicated for the CTF. When compiling their figures for how many “days off per year with full pay” federal employees are entitled to, the CTF included 104 weekend days––unpaid days off for most federal workers and many other white-collar workers.

They also don’t seem to understand that bargaining is a two-way conversation. The employees’ union and the employer exchange bargaining proposals, which outline priorities and items that each side wants to address. This is followed by a discussion where proposals are often changed several times before they’re agreed to.

In the case referenced in the op-ed, the Educational and Library Science Group of the Public Service Alliance of Canada put forward a proposal to amend the definition of “family” to include, among others, foster child, step sister/brother, and Aboriginal spirit friend.

The latter term is meant to describe an Aboriginal elder or spiritual advisor. In First Nations communities this person provides advice and guidance to an individual and is involved in all of their major life events. The proposed amendment is meant to recognize that the current definition of family is narrower and more limiting than what is used by First Nations and other Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

If the CTF had just asked us about our bargaining proposal, we would have been more than happy to have this discussion. Unfortunately, they only seem interested in slashing jobs, cutting crucial public services, and causing undue hardship for Canadians.