Guidelines for AFS Members When Encountering a Picket Line of Another Union or PIPSC Group

Dear Members of the AFS Group,

PSAC and some PIPSC Groups are moving towards legal strike positions.  As a Member of the AFS Group you may encounter when entering or leaving work picket lines organized by other Unions or PIPSC Groups. AFS members are NOT in a legal strike position and are reminded that they are expected to report to work as scheduled.

You should not attempt to cross a picket line where you believe your personal safety is at risk. Should this occur, you should contact your manager for instructions.

The AFS National Executive encourages all AFS members to show their support for their colleagues during unpaid lunch periods and/or before and after work hours by joining the members of UTE or the PIPSC CS Group in their picket lines and rallies.

We support our union colleagues in obtaining a fair and equitable collective agreement.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any picket lines of another Union, you can contact your local AFS Steward.


Doug Mason, AFS President

On behalf of the AFS National Executive


Guidelines for PIPSC Members When Encountering a Legal Picket by Another Union or PIPSC Group

Encountering a Legal Picket

You may encounter a picket line set up by another PIPSC Group or another union striking against an employer.

Employees not in a legal strike position who encounter legal picketing must report for work as usual and are obligated to respect the provisions of their own collective agreements.

Members who wish to support their fellow employees who are legally on strike, may join the picket line on their own time. Members are strongly discouraged from voluntarily crossing picket lines or collaborating with the employer.

Members Should be Aware of the Following:


  • If there is a picket line set up, determine whether or not it may be crossed safely.
  • If you have reason to fear for your safety, you should contact your supervisor by telephone to inform them of the situation.
  • If the supervisor requests that you report for work, you should ask for an escort to provide safe access to the worksite. The employer must provide an escort if one is requested.
  • If the employer requests that you perform any or all of the duties of an employee who is participating in a legal strike, you should object on the grounds that this is contrary to your job description. If the employer orders you to perform such work in the face of your clear protest, you should request that the employer provide instructions in writing. In any event, you should obey the employer’s orders unless the employer requires that you perform an illegal or unsafe act. At that point, you should contact your ERO.
  • If you have reasonable cause to believe that the employer is requiring you to perform work which would expose either yourself, or other employees to a dangerous situation, you may refuse to work under Part II of the Canada Labour Code, which covers all federal government employees. You should immediately inform both your supervisor and your union Safety and Health Representative of the dangerous situation. Members should contact the Institute’s ERO for advice if needed.

The employer is obligated at all times to respect the terms and conditions of existing collective agreements. Any alleged violations or intent to violate the collective agreement should be reported to the Institute without delay so that appropriate remedial action may be taken.