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Canada Border Services Agency worker strike ends, promising a smoother flow to border traffic

Canada Border Services Agency union workers ended strike actions late Friday, allowing a smoother flow to border traffic days before Canada is set to allow vaccinated Americans to cross.

Workers started "work-to-rule action" Friday morning, in which employees at Canadian airports, land borders and other facilities performed duties to "the letter of the law." This action threatened "long and unavoidable delays" at Canada's borders and was expected to have a "dramatic impact" on plans to reopen the border to American travelers if negotiations were still ongoing Monday, according to the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

A news release from the PSAC and Customs and Immigration Union said the labor unions secured a tentative agreement for nearly 9,000 CBSA employees late Friday.

Employees had been fighting for greater parity with other Canadian law enforcement agencies, and the agreement includes better protections against “excessive discipline” at work, a new committee to address workplace culture, a paid meal allowance for uniformed members and a commitment to work toward introducing early retirement benefits. Negotiations started in January 2019, according to the release.

Even without the union strike, travelers interested in crossing the border next week can expect longer wait times than normal, since they will have to show additional documentation – including proof of vaccination and a coronavirus test – to cross. Canada is set to open to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents Monday at 12:01 a.m. EDT.

Credit USA Today by Bailey Schulz

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