The Union of Environment Workers members are spread out across Canada; in the north, in the south and from the east coast to the west coast. Most members, however, are concentrated on the east and west coasts of Canada and in Ontario. The Component represents approximately 5,700 members in 39 Locals.
At a Convention in Vancouver in June 1972, the Environment Component was established to serve PSAC members in the newly formed Department of Environment. At the 2005 Convention, the delegates in attendance adopted a resolution which saw an identity change: i.e., from the "Environment Component, PSAC" to "The Union of Environment Workers". Delegates believed that a name change would foster a better understanding of who and what the Component represents.
The Component now represents PSAC members in the Departments of Environment, Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Forest Service. The Component also represents members with separate employers (other than Treasury Board) such as the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation (in Winnipeg), and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
The Component provides service to its Locals in the form of advice and representation related to grievances. Grievances presentations are given at the National Departmental Headquarters level. The Union of Environment Workers is also involved in all matters related to the Departmental policies and problems of the members we represent. Representation on behalf of the membership is also provided at various Union-Management Consultation Meetings with the Departments.
Approximately 53% of the Union of Environment Workers' members are in the Program and Administrative Services and approximately 41% of the Components members are in the Technical Services. The Component's largest group, which is in the Technical category, is the Engineering and Scientific Support (EG) Group (1,700+).
The second largest group, which is in the Program and Administrative category, is the Administrative Services (AS) Group (1,200+).
We also represent members who work as Fishery Officers, Environmental Inspectors, General Labour and Trades and others. The Technical Groups account for a host of specialties: hydrography, hydrology, meteorology, cartography, wildlife, forestry, fisheries conservation and protection and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment, air, water and land.
Isolation, shift work, laws and regulations’ enforcement, field and sea duty are some of the extraordinary conditions of employment experienced by Union of Environment Workers' members. Many work in laboratories with dangerous and poisonous chemicals, or other potentially harmful materials or substances. Others are constantly exposed to dangerous and confrontational situations when enforcing regulations. Because of these working conditions, occupational health and safety is a constant concern to the Component.
A subject of grave concern to the Component is the increasing incidence of contracting-out and the use of volunteers to engage in Bargaining Unit work. The scientific and technical nature of members' jobs lend themselves to contracting-out when the Government cuts back on full time equivalent (FTE) allocations while still trying to maintain the same level of service to Canadians.