DETROIT - A strike of border employees beginning Friday at that Canadian-U.S. crossing will delay travel between the two countries and create potential issues for the reopening of the border to vaccinated Americans next week.
About 9,000 employees with the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union will implement "work-to-rule" activities at Canadian airports, land borders, commercial shipping ports, and post offices that are expected create heavy delays at access points around the country, including across the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor.
Workers will still work their jobs, but a release says they will perform their duties to ‘the letter of the law’ by asking every question on the manual for each vehicle attempting to cross. "This may cause long and unavoidable delays."
The work actions started around 6 a.m. Friday.
The concern of a strike will hit industries in different ways. The mangled supply chain that flows in and out of Detroit will see movement over the border slow to a crawl - which could create issues for shipping and transportation, potentially costing money to corporations not moving products fast enough.
It will also impact the tourism industry when Monday arrives. That's when vaccinated Americans will be free to cross the border as well. They also will be caught in traffic jams.
At the heart of the issue is a contract that hasn't been agreed upon in three years.
Union workers say they are seeking better pay and protections "against a toxic workplace culture at the CBSA."
After unionized employees declared an impasse with the government in December, they asked a commission to release recommendations for both groups to consider.
Both sides expect to meet again Friday.