Member Update - Covid19, April 8

This is another long message but I hope you will read through to the end.

As we navigate this pandemic, I want to share information from our Locals as it becomes available. Of course, almost as soon as something becomes news, it's replaced by a new or updated plan or procedure.

We've been working on Letters of Agreement with employers who hire seasonal workers. These LOAs allow adjustments to recall dates, and the advance notice needed to recall workers. These changes should allow more flexibility as employers respond to Covid-19 realities, and guarantees seasonal workers who can't be available will keep their seniority and will not be deemed to have waived recall rights for this season. This is good news, and affects workers in many of our bargaining units in public and private sector workplaces.

Many seasonal staff in Tourism and Culture are being recalled later this month as planned but will be placed on Leave Without Pay, likely until June 29 when YG hopes to open visitors centres and the Beringia Centre.  These workers are eligible for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and the employer is looking for opportunities for redeployment - perhaps as greeters at the community health centres or similar work.  Being on strength but on LWOP makes it easy for the employer to offer other work as it becomes available.

Yukon Arts Centre: members at the Yukon Arts Centre have been working from home since March 16.

Yukon College staff continue to work from home as well.

City of Whitehorse was initially requiring all employees on quarantine or in self-isolation to use banked leave when they were not sick and could not work from home.  After discussions with the YEU and with YG, they reversed that decision this week and will restore leave banks to members who quarantined due to travel prior to March 13. 

If this affects you, you must complete a form for payroll, and it is available on the City network drive at R:\Corporate_Services\Financial_Services\CityWide\Forms - General Finance\Forms- Payroll\Application for COVID-19 Leave.pdf

Protection Measures Against COVID-19

New measures to protect you and your co-workers are being implemented in workplaces around the territory. Depending on where you work this could include posters, signage and tape lines to encourage physical distancing, a supply of sanitizer and wipes and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Not all workplaces can modify physical spaces to ensure physical distancing. Two metre distancing in places like the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, on airplanes and buses or in  residential care facilities are challenging, but the employer has an obligation to ensure your health & safety.

Plexiglass has been obtained to shield retail counters for the Yukon Liquor Corporation store in Whitehorse and workers re-assigned to the airport will work behind plexiglass shields when screening arrivals.

If you don't feel the employer's efforts go far enough to protect worker safety, please contact us through our website; or

The Deployment of Covid-19 Enforcement Officers:

YEU has been in discussions with the officials responsible for the deployment of workers reassigned to Yukon's borders and airports. The following information was shared with the union yesterday, for dissemination to our membership.

An Enforcement Incident Management Team and Integrated Enforcement Management Team was stood up to support ECC Enforcement and Compliance Plan COVID19, Operation Section ECC, and to coordinate available enforcement personnel resources.

The plan identifies a number of Yukon Government internal and external enforcement personnel to draw from now and others under considerations.

The current CEMA "Enforcement Officer" deployment, supporting two streams of enforcement and compliance response are:

Checkpoints (Watson Lake Alaska Hwy & Jct 37)

Environment - Conservation Officers

EMR - Natural Resource Officers

Whitehorse Airport and Public Complaint Response Team.

Yukon Liquor Corp. - Liquor Inspectors

City of Whitehorse Bylaw is under consideration and Doug Spencer is the Bylaw COVID Enforcement Response Team liaison

Additional Environment resources will be drawn from to support the two 24/7 static Declaration Checkpoint Stations near Watson Lake. Scheduling and operational planning is underway for reassignments of:

Yukon Parks- Park Rangers

Environmental Compliance and Inspection Officers

Animal Protection Officer

Role and Capacity of  CEMA "Enforcement Officer":

Enforcement and compliance of Ministerial Orders guided by ECC and the Integrated Enforcement Management Team.

I hope this helps make sense of some of what is going on around us.

Finally, Local Presidents have been joining myself, Paul and Tony on thrice weekly conference calls. We've decided to hold some special online town-hall sessions for our hard working Shop Stewards network. They've been doing a terrific job in the last weeks helping members navigate the changing landscape. We'll also be holding several online training modules for our Stewards, geared specifically to the questions members need answered right now.  The first town hall session is scheduled for April 16th - if you are a Shop Steward, watch for an email soon from Lynne with the details.

Please take care of yourself and take care of one another.

In solidarity,

Steve Geick, President Yukon Employees' Union

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