YEU President Responds to Sandy Silver

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February 16, 2021

"It's simply not true that 60 per cent of continuing care workers were off the job last Friday, and I think that's irresponsible to spread misinformation and potentially stoking fears about the vaccine rollout," Silver said.

Premier Silver:

It seems there is a lot of misinformation floating around the Yukon these days. Perhaps instead of pointing fingers and spreading misinformation yourself you should look internally within Health and Social Service and make sure your house is in order.

I read the comments you made during your live-streamed February 11th COVID 19 update. You said "It's simply not true that 60 per cent of continuing care workers were off the job last Friday, and I think that's irresponsible to spread misinformation and potentially stoking fears about the vaccine rollout.”

YEU supports the Yukon’s vaccination rollout completely, and we encourage our members to be vaccinated – especially essential healthcare workers. Our message to members is and has been that while COVID vaccine symptoms are manageable and predictable, the employer needs to respond with accurate, timely information that is uniform and consistent. Additionally, it is our expectation that you – as the employer, make plans that take into account the predictable side effects of any mass vaccination program.

Pulled from the website of the Government of Yukon: “The Public Service Commission provides human resource advice and support services to Yukon government departments and employees, acts as the employer on behalf of the Yukon government and establishes and maintains human resource legislation, policies and collective agreements.

As premier, YOU are the employer, Mr. Silver. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to make sure your management team is all pulling in the same direction with the well-being of all Yukoners in mind. And by all Yukoners I mean ALL Yukoners – including your own workforce.

The information Yukon Employees’ Union shared with our membership last week came straight from a Senior Manager within Health & Social Services. This information was shared with a Senior Representative of the Public Service Commission and me, during a meeting. This HSS manager confirmed repeatedly that fully 60% of continuing care staff across facilities were off work while waiting out the predictable side effects of this vaccine.

The direction provided to these members by H&SS management was a complete cluster; a mashup of confusing misinformation and contradictory instructions. Some workers were told to stay home and await contact from the CDC, others told to isolate while at work, still others told to take sick days while awaiting further direction.

Let me reiterate; the PSC representative and I each confirmed several times that the 60% number was accurate and was true for all of Continuing Care.

On Monday February 8th I received a call from Public Service Commission to say that we had been misinformed. I immediately contacted the media to inform them prior to them releasing anything and YEU posted something on our web site and social media to that effect. Here is the link; please read it prior to spreading more misinformation. https://www.yeu.ca/covid_vaccine_side_effects_sick_leave

Sandy, perhaps it’s time you admit that neither yourself nor Minister Frost have any control over the largest and arguably most important Department of the Yukon Government right now. And perhaps the next time you feel the urge to call out the union’s facts in such a forum you first do some fact checking of your own.

In solidarity with our members,

Steve Geick, President


Yukon Employees’ Union
Ph: 867-335-2631