To All Yukoners:
As many of you know, Many Rivers’ counsellors and staff are currently on strike.
Our decision to strike came about after long due process and careful consideration. We have sincere concerns about how this strike is affecting our clients; this was a last resort decision. Over the last year, we have made every effort to negotiate with management to reach a fair and reasonable contract, in the hope of continuing to support our communities.
It is well known that you cannot care for others if you are unable to care for yourself. In a workplace that does not provide fairness, respect and transparency, fighting for our rights and the rights of our clients is exhausting and unsustainable.
We choose to work at Many Rivers because our personal values align with being able to offer free counselling services to anyone in the Yukon. To provide our clients with the best service, we need to adhere to ethics including maintaining professional competencies and our own mental wellness. We are asking for management and the Board to support a workplace environment that follows the Many Rivers’ vision: valuing compassion, integrity and respect.
We are asking for flexible work hours so that we can see clients earlier or later in the day. We are asking for counselling benefits that come close to the services we offer. For the few staff that travel, we are asking for per diems to reduce the amount of time spent submitting paperwork and receipts to be reimbursed so that we can spend more time on client care. We are asking for an increase in our pay scale that reflects the Consumer Price Index for inflation rates. Finally, we are asking for time within our work schedule to seek supervision specific to our specializations so that we may maintain professional integrity, a standard that relates to Many Rivers’ vision statement.
At this time we feel we are being asked to adhere to a management-oriented model of service that is geared to serving administrative and management needs at the expense of client and employee needs. We would like our management to trust our clinical judgment as counsellors to schedule our day as required to meet our client needs, as well as our own needs.
We are striking so we can continue to help the individuals, couples, children, and families in all Yukon communities that we serve, when they need us. We are striking to meet our needs and replenish our personal resources to avoid burn out.
We feel the Many Rivers Board of Directors and Executive Director are key in this negotiation. There is currently an 8-member board that has thus far not accepted our invitations to talk with our representatives. The Board operates within the Carver Model and is able to communicate with an employee committee; however, they have not taken the opportunity to dialogue with staff regarding daily operations. We feel it is reasonable to ask the Board to communicate with Many Rivers’ staff to get a balanced picture of how our agency operates.
We are mindful of the impact this strike may have on families and community members and are hopeful the outcome will honour our client’s rights, and our own. The support we have received is an encouraging validation of the service we provide. We thank everyone for their support and patience throughout this process.