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Blue Water Bridge ramp closed due to strike by Canada Border Services workers


An entrance to the Blue Water Bridge has been closed due to congested traffic as Canada Border Services Agency workers go on strike.

The ramp to the bridge from Pine Grove Avenue is closed, Port Huron deputy chief Marcy Kuehn said at 3 p.m. Friday. The police are on site to try to smooth traffic.

“The eastbound I-94 / I-69 is also blocked by traffic attempting to cross the Blue Water Bridge,” Kuehn said in an email. “Please avoid traveling on Pine Grove Avenue near the Blue Water Bridge if possible.”

The Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union both served strike notices on the Canadian government on Tuesday, according to union press releases.

“We really hoped we didn’t have to go on strike, but we exhausted all other avenues to get a fair deal with the government,” said National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada Chris Aylward. “The Treasury Board and the CBSA have made it clear that they are not prepared to address critical CBSA workplace issues at the bargaining table.

Traffic at the Blue Water Bridge was delayed by about an hour and 50 minutes on Friday afternoon, according to the Canadian government.

Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman Jacqueline Callin said travelers should allow additional processing time at the border due in part to the strike.

“The top priorities of the Canada Border Services Agency are the safety and security of our border, obeying our laws and keeping the border open to legitimate travelers and goods,” Callin said in an email. “The CBSA is a dynamic and responsive organization that provides high quality border services and will continue to provide essential services during this union action. The agency expects officers to continue to perform their duties with the highest level of integrity and professionalism.

More on the strike

In a work-to-rule, Customs employees will perform their duties to the “letter of the law” and obey all policies, procedures and laws that apply to their work. This can cause long and unavoidable delays at Canada’s borders, unions say.

Unions are seeking better pay equity with other Canadian law enforcement agencies and better protections against a toxic work culture. Unionized employees of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union have been working without a contract for three years.

Strikes are taking place at all Canadian airports, land borders, commercial ports, postal facilities and head offices, and could have a dramatic impact on Canada’s supply chain and government plans to reopen the border to US citizens on August 9, the unions said.

Read more: Canadian border reopens on August 9 for U.S. travelers: what travelers need to know

“We continued to serve Canadians throughout the pandemic – keeping our borders secure, screening travelers for COVID-19 and clearing shipments of vital vaccines,” said Mark Weber, National President of the Customs and Immigration Union. “Now it is time for the government to stand up for CBSA employees. “

The two sides recently returned to the negotiating table, said Jeffrey Vallis, spokesperson for the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

“Our negotiating team has been at the table all night and we are giving them a little more time to negotiate,” Vallis said in an email. “In the meantime, rule-making actions have started across the country.”

Michigan Bay Area Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jocelyn Hall said border security was an issue outside the purview of Blue Water Bridge and the MDOT was not in able to reduce traffic, as safe border crossing is managed by border security agencies.

However, the MDOT is aware of the potential congestion the strike can create and has sent information about potential safeguards to the public through social media updates and various message boards, Hall said.

“If delays occur, our toll operators will hold back traffic in the square instead of letting it pile up at customs. We understand that this can be frustrating for our customers, but with the exception of wait times, the process at our toll booths should remain transparent, ”Hall said in an email.

Contact Laura Fitzgerald at (810) 941-7072 or [email protected]

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