Unionized Canadian border agency workers reached a tentative deal late August 6, 2021 aimed at ending the ‘work-to-rule’ action that resulted in the slowdown of cross-border travel, affecting logistics firms like Titan Transline and their truckers.
Detroit and Port Huron, among the major US-Canada border crossings affected by the slowdown, got hit by delays after the deal was reached.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union represented the CBSA workers during the negotiations, which ended late Friday following 36 hours of discussion.
PSAC National President Chris Aylward stated that they, speaking for workers, are relieved that the government is finally coming to address the most important the most important issues for their workers in order to avoid creating a prolonged labor dispute.
The deal meant an immediate end to the work-to-rule action, and ensures that the Canada-US border traffic operated as normal prior to August 8, 2021, Monday, when the government was set to welcome nonessential travel from fully vaccinated US travelers.
The work slowdown on that Friday hit all ports of entry into Canada; airports, border crossings, postal facilities, and commercial shipping ports.
Trucks were stuck for hours at crossings like Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge, and Port Huron’s Blue Water Bridge. The Canadian government’s wait time monitor reported delays of more than five hours, with logistic firms like Titan Transline and their truckers all feeling the delays.
By the evening after the deal was made, trucks were still waiting to cross the Blue Water Bridge.
The Michigan Department of Transportation traffic map even reported slow-moving traffic as far west and south as Interstate 94.
Commercial truck drivers were stuck at the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor according to a Canadian border wait time system.
There wasn’t any delay for regular traffic at the crossings, though the border wasn’t open for most travelers.
The work slowdown was done as a way to pressure the Canadian federal government to negotiate with worker unions regarding a contract issue that has lasted for several years. Workers had been without contract for three years prior to this tentative deal.
The move was made prior to the Canadian government’s reopening of its borders to vaccinated US citizens, which would undercut any economic boost the country’s border communities would get from renewed tourism, as well as disrupt the supply chain.