DETROIT – A strike at the Canadian border caused long delays Friday at the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.
The strike comes as Canada is set to open its border to fully-vaccinated travelers Monday.
The union that represents about 9,000 Canadian Border Service Agency employees announced voted in favor of the strike, which began at midnight. The joint strike between the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Customs and Immigration Union started due to a contract dispute.
“We’ve been in negotiations for over three years, but the employer has flat out refused to address critical workplace issues impacting our members,″ said Chris Aylward, national president of Public Service Alliance of Canada.
CBSA employees have been without a contract since 2017 and in that time, the union has been negotiating for protections against excessive discipline and harassment, whistle-blowing protections and remote work provisions.
The strike caused significant delays. The Ambassador Bridge had a 90 minute wait time, as did the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron.
“We truly hoped we wouldn’t be forced to take strike action,” Aylward said. “But we’ve exhausted every other avenue to reach a fair contract with the government.”
On the American side of the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said nothing is going to change on their end and that the U.S. will not allow Canadian travelers until later August.
More: US-Canada news
If you are commercial traffic waiting to cross you may want to stop prior to the crossing until the congestion clears as you will not be able to stop in the travel lanes and wait. PS: Don’t call and swear at our dispatchers. They have nothing to do with it.— MSP Metro Detroit (@mspmetrodet) August 6, 2021