YEU Covid-19 Member Update July 24

On June 26th I encouraged YG members to use Article 26.05, Casual Leave to meet family obligations resulting from Covid policies, school closures and the like. We had early, positive conversations with the employer paving the way for use of this article to allow workers to juggle family realities in a crazy time – to pick up and drop off their children from daycare or camp, or check in on their elderly parents.

This article is very specific, stating that at the employer's discretion a member will be granted up to 2 hours leave that will NOT be deducted from other leave banks, period.

Nowhere in the negotiated language does it say that there is a once a year cap on the usage of this article but in all their wisdom and benevolence, that is exactly how your employer has chosen to interpret that article.

Covid-19 has had a profound impact on families as parents try to stick-handle childcare, schooling and work responsibilities in a system with a disrupted infrastructure. In most families, school and childcare are the critical links in the operational chain – if those links break, everything can fall apart very quickly. So many families have had to use up vacation time, special leave and sick leave just to get through the first few months of this pandemic. Many have been forced to request an advance on next year’s leave so they can maintain the plate-spinning magic needed to keep kids cared for and safe.

I find it totally reprehensible that an employer - supposedly one of the top 100 employers in Canada- would enact Covid responses that hamstring families without offering any real solution to the workers negatively impacted by these responses.

Have you been denied leave under Article 26.05?  YEU is pursuing individual grievances for many workers who have been denied the use of casual leave and we have filed a Policy Grievance on the Employer’s self-serving, tone deaf interpretation of article 26.05. If you want to ask questions or grieve your leave denial, complete an online Intake form and we'll get back to you ASAP. 

This is far from over, and it’s just one more thing to remember when Silver and his cronies come knocking on your door come election time. 

Steve Geick, President

Looking back on five months of Covid-19, we’ve watched as every workplace and employer has responded quickly, adapting to the new normal. Some have done better than others - a few highlights come quickly to mind.

The Town of Watson Lake really showed leadership during the early days of the pandemic, offering family-sensitive options to members with immune-compromised family members rather than expecting employees to burn up their leave.

Another great example of creative and respectful workplace solutions – The City of Dawson allowed their Pump House staff to collaborate in scheduling, adjusting their own hours to allow for safe social distancing in their workplace.

It’s helped a lot that YEU President Steve Geick has been able to work very well with the Director of Labour Relations, and their civil approach has been valuable in ensuring the union and employer worked well together. This was particularly evident in the very early stages of workplace closures. They had a lot of early morning and late night conversations which helped everyone navigate the changes, and helped us provide information to members in a timely way.

Tony Thomas, Vice President - Communities.

In terms of Covid and Return To Work policy, most employers have given space to the union while engaging our members for input. Sometimes the union has had to remind employers to involve Health & Safety committees in the Covid response and RTW planning processes.

During the pandemic, our members have mobilized to provide Yukoners with critical services, and have really led the way. Union engagement is up, so let’s maintain momentum so your voice in the workplace is heard. This is especially important now during these uncertain times. 

Paul Johnston, Vice President



It's never been easier to connect with your Shop Steward! We're really glad to announce that we've begun rolling out online Shop Steward listings which will allow our members to email their Steward directly. 

At the moment, we have Shop Steward listings live online for the City of Whitehorse Local Y023, Yukon Government Local Y010 and YG Health & Human Services Local Y017. 

Look for Local Y025 Yukon Hospital Corp, Local Y043 Klondike Collective (YG and City of Dawson) and Local Y045 Watson Lake in the next week or so. 

We hope this will strengthen the Locals, improve access to representation for members and provide opportunities to connect with the union more easily for everyone. 

Of course everyone is invited to continue using our online Intake Form to contact us about workplace problems, 24 hours a day. If you message us, soand meone will respond within 24 hours during the week, or within 2 business days on weekends.
If it's an urgent issue, please call us at 667-2331 and press 2 for intake.

Need Help with a Medical Accommodation?

Do you have a medical condition that makes doing some or all of your work a challenge? Your employer has a legal duty to accommodate you and the Union can help ensure they do. If your employer is refusing to give you alternate work or won't allow you to work from home despite a medical condition, please go online and fill out a YEU Intake form.  A trained Shop Steward or YEU staffer will be available to provide you with advice or assistance to make sure you receive the accommodation you need. 

Employers who refuse to accommodate members or drag the process out are discriminating against those that have physical or psychological challenges, and the union will fight for you.


Curious about getting involved in the union?

Interested in Occupational Health & Safety? Wish the union were more involved in social justice issues? Maybe you have a great idea for a campaign or project, or perhaps you see a problem the union hasn't addressed. Whether you're interested in representation, advocacy, governance, want to help advance a cause or join a Committee, the union has room for you. In this zoom conversation on getting involved and getting active, we’ll talk about it. You have talents, skills and interests that will help to make your union and your community stronger.

Join us for a Zoom session on Thursday July 30 6:30PM


The Growing Threat of Privatization. Thursday July 28, 2pm.


During the COVID-19 crisis we have seen the devsatating effect of privatization in sectors like long-term care, where the for-profit interests of companies has become more important than patient care. We have also been reminded of the importance of the public sector and public services.

This crisis has exposed the damage done by years of budget cuts and moves towards deregulation and privatization.

Recently the Canadian Labour Congress' Task Force on New Forms of Privatization released a report on the growing threat of privatization. Join us as we bring together a panel of experts to discuss the key findings of the report, and their recommendations for strengthening public services in the future.

French translation will be available.

I want to remind you that we're accepting bursary applications until the end of October. If you or your dependent is pursuing post-secondary education - full or part-time, in person or online due to Covid, please consider applying today at the link below.

Steve Geick, President
Yukon Employees' Union

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