YEU Covid-19 Update for Members - June 26

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At the discretion of the Employer, a regular employee may be granted casual leave with pay to a maximum of two (2) hours for purposes of special or unusual nature. Such casual leave shall not be deducted from any earned leave credits.

An LOU has been presented to the Public Service Commission to ensure YG workers can make use of Article 26.05, Casual Leave. This article allows you to meet family obligations resulting from Covid policies and practices. We await the employer's sign off but in the meanwhile, please select Leave with Pay, and cite Article 26.05 on your leave form to access Casual Leave. If this leave is denied and you believe that in your circumstances it should be granted, please contact us by submitting an Intake Form on our site. 


Member experiences during Covid have varied wildly from one employer to the next , and from one department to another. Depending on the work, some have adapted to working remotely while others were laid off. Hundreds more of you have been expected to show up on the job day after day, no matter how other Covid measures have impacted your daily routines.

Many essential or necessary workers have been forced to deplete leave banks to ensure they can be available to home school their kids. Others have had to burn through accrued leave thanks to childcare scarcity or the reduced hours of care available. Some of you face the impossible decision of borrowing against next year's leave to meet your childcare needs over the summer, while dreading what may come. Families wonder how they'll cope if schools don't reopen fully in September. 

Will employers recognize the impossible situation faced by those who can't work from home? It's time for innovative and equitable solutions that don't penalize workers for being essential. 

We've asked the Yukon Government to lead the way, and establish best practices other employers might follow. Unchecked, the current ad-hoc practices will create a second tier of workers with no leave until 2021 and longer. The strength and resiliency of our workforce requires time away, and hope for an equitable work arrangement.

YEU is discussing options with employers including restoring leave used to accommodate family obligations during Covid. We'll be grieving if we need to. If you were denied an accommodation on the basis of family status, get in touch with us please. If you didn't know you could request such an accommodation, let us know that too and we'll look for a way to help. 


Our Thursday night meetings with members working outside the home during Covid have been really valuable, and I hope you'll join us if you're affected. If you're not comfortable speaking out in this forum, please send your question or concern by email ahead of time, or privately through zoom's chat feature, and we can discuss it in general terms. It's through these kinds of conversations that we find out which issues are affecting you, and we can't fight for you if we don't know what's happening.

Our next meeting takes place next Thursday July 2nd at 6:30. Please RSVP today.

A New University, a New Name for Local Y011:

Congratulations to members of YEU/PSAC Local Y011 - formerly Yukon College. The Local has held a vote to select a new name now that the Yukon University has launched. They will be known as YEU/PSAC Local Y011 Yukon University Employees Union, YUEU from now on. Best wishes to all our members at Local Y011!


We hope all members of Local Y010 will attend this special general meeting. We will use Zoom to allow members to participate from home and to respect social distancing guidelines from the Chief Medical Officer of Health. For those who wish to attend the meeting in person, we will be holding simultaneous live events at the YEU Hall, 2285 2nd Avenue.  A voting system will be in place through Zoom to allow for voting without being physically present at the union hall.  



Last week I shared some thoughts on the work we need to do to combat racism, fight our own unconscious bias and make space for BIPOC to speak while we listen. Learning from each other is key, and we are all learning and growing. Being uncomfortable with the language is part of the process, and a few of  you expressed discomfort with the term white folks. I recognize that racism is not only perpetrated by white people but was speaking for myself from my position as a white man, with all its privilege. 

The reality is that generations of systemic racism and oppression of Black, Indigenous and Asian people in Canada have allowed us to benefit from white privilege. Failing to acknowledge our privilege, or taking offense when it's pointed out is called white fragility. Many refuse to acknowledge that white privilege serves to keep BIPOC from reaching equality in our society. If you are not familiar with Jim Crow laws from the US which are the foundations of today's gross inequalities, I've linked to a very thorough explanation HERE

YEU and PSAC have been vocal advocates for the rights of racialized and indigenous groups, whether or not they are members of our organization. As an organization we have come to realize that it is time for us not only to engage but to ACT, and to do the work that guarantees all Canadians equal access and equal status as human beings. That includes educating ourselves on the truth of the struggle. We do that, in part, by stepping back, listening with an open heart and an open mind, and letting people with a lifetime of lived experience in a racist society tell us what needs fixing.

If you are interested in being part of a more whole and inclusive society, both YEU and PSAC have some great educational opportunities dealing with systemic racism and anti-oppression training. YEU is in the planning stages of some anti-racism discussion forums and learning opportunities over the coming months. 

We all have a choice right now. We can humbly accept that we have work to do, or we can let white fragility and fear guide our actions. If we continue to double down on our privilege we are deciding to continue to oppress others.

This is an important time, and one where discomfort is almost a certainty, no matter how much we might believe we hold no unconscious bias.  I choose to step back, listen and learn, and to hand over the mike to BIPOC who are tired of waiting for equality.

I want to thank Paige Galette for the graphic we featured in last week's message. Black Lives They Matter Here - a powerful reminder for Yukoners that racism isn't a problem that exists only far away. 

We'll continue the work our in-house working group began last year on breaking down our own practices and processes in an effort to de-colonize YEU. We need to hear from our members who experience racism in the workplace and in our communities. Working together is our only hope to overcome generations of systemic racism. 

In solidarity,

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