YG Bargaining 2021

Yukon Government Bargaining Process at a glance:

Yukon Government Bargaining Process

Getting Ready to Bargain

1. Members are asked to submit bargaining input in advance of negotiations – usually six months prior to the expiry of the Collective Agreement.

2. A bargaining conference is held, providing a forum for members to discuss input, provide feedback, advocate for priorities, and discuss initial mobilization strategies.

3. The bargaining team is elected by member activists who are engaged in union activities and committed to union principles. This election is held at the bargaining conference.

4. The bargaining team reviews member input and feedback from the bargaining conference and compiles a list of proposals to bring to the negotiations table.


The Negotiation Process – governed by the Yukon Public Service Labour Relations Act (YPSLRA)

1. Notice to Bargain is served to the employer within a period of four months before the collective agreement expires (collective agreement Article 58 Duration).

2. Negotiations: Both parties start the collective bargaining process within 20 days of the employer receiving notice (s.40). Talks continue until a tentative agreement is reached or talks stall.

3. If talks stall:

a. Either party may request the assistance of a conciliator, who will be appointed, meet with the teams, and assist in reaching an agreement (s.43). The conciliator then reports on the process outcome to the Labour Relations Board chair, consistent with the Act timelines.
b. Either party or the conciliator may declare that negotiations have broken down or deadlock exists by notifying the Board chair. This leaves two options for resolution:

i. Request for arbitration (s.52): The Board chair will appoint an arbitrator within 14 days of receiving deadlock notice from a bargaining party. The arbitrator will consider the outstanding issues and provide a binding decision.
ii. Request for a conciliation board (s.65): A three-member board is struck consisting of one employer representative, one union representative, and a mutually agreed upon chair (s.67). The board will consider submissions and provide a non-binding report to the Board chair within 14 days of agreeing to the matters up for negotiation, “or within any longer period that may be agreed on by the parties or determined by the chair of the Labour Relations Board” (s.73). This step is a prerequisite for strike action.

4. Strike action can commence if the following conditions are met (s.87):

• Parties have not been able to reach a tentative agreement.
• 14 days have elapsed since a conciliation board report was provided to the YPSLRB chair.
• 48 hours have elapsed since notice of intention to strike has been delivered to the employer.
• Members have consented to a strike through a strike vote, and the PSAC National President has authorized strike action (PSAC Regulation 15B).

5. Once a tentative agreement is reached through bargaining or conciliation, members participate in a ratification vote. If members accept the tentative offer, a new collective agreement is achieved.

Reaching an Impasse: (We are Here)

Negotiations began in late 2021, and the parties (union and management) worked with a conciliator since June, 2022. On January 13th, 2023, the conciliator concluded that mediation was not successful in bringing the parties to an agreement. Therefore, we’re now at an impasse and will be moving forward with a conciliation board.

The government is not listening to us or taking our issues seriously. Key demands remain outstanding, including those related to fair pay, adequate recruitment and retention measures, and the health and safety of both government workers and the public. And the government still wants to take away members’ severance.

We may be forced into a position where we need to show the employer just how strong and united we are, and that includes preparing for potential strike action.


If the union and the employer can’t reach a tentative agreement, they can declare an impasse. This means they have gone as far as they can with no resolution in sight. At this stage, the union has options:

Requesting a conciliator (sometimes referred to as a mediator)

They can enlist the assistance of an independent mediator/conciliator, who attempts to work with both sides and bring them closer to agreement. This step is required before proceeding to a conciliation board.  

Binding arbitration

The union and management sides can proceed with binding arbitration, where a third party imposes a decision on the unsettled issues.

Request a conciliation board

The union can request a conciliation board consisting of a three-person panel – one person chosen by the union, one chosen by the employer, and a mutually chosen chairperson. The conciliation board then sets dates, hears arguments from both parties in support of their positions, and issues a non-binding report. This process can take several months but must be completed before strike action can take place. The best outcome at this stage is for the union and the employer to resume bargaining in light of the recommendations. If there is still no agreement at the end of this process, strike action may be possible.

Let’s Organize to WIN!

When bargaining breaks down, members play a critical role in pressuring the employer to reach a fair settlement. While bargaining progresses, you can stay informed by signing up for bargaining updates and information events. You can show the union is serious by calling and visiting your Member of the Legislative Assembly and asking for their help in moving the employer to make a better offer. You can join in mobilization efforts by getting in contact with the Whitehorse regional office. And the #1 thing you can do to make a difference right now is talk to your coworkers. Make sure they know what’s going on and plan something in your workplace together!

Information sessions are being offered to answer all of your bargaining and organizing questions. The more proactive and organized we are, the more likely it is that we’ll get a respectful deal at the table.

CLICK TO REGISTER NOW FOR A STRIKE INFO SESSION

Thursday February 2 from 5-6:15pm

Thursday February 9 from noon - 1:15pm.

All About Strikes

Preparing for Strike Action

Strike action can commence if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The union and management have not been able to reach a tentative agreement;
  • 14 days have elapsed since a conciliation board report was provided to the Chair of the Labour Relations Board;
  • The union has given the employer at least 48 hours’ notice of their intention to strike;
  • Members have voted in favour of a strike through a strike vote; and
  • The PSAC National President has authorized strike action.

Bringing a Strike Vote to the Members

When bargaining has not gone well, members may need to take strike action to get the improvements to the agreement they need. This is a possibility during every round of bargaining.

When there are big differences between the changes members want and what the employer is prepared to offer, and it looks like it will take more than talk to move the employer, PSAC organizes a strike vote for members of the bargaining unit who are in good standing. Members who have signed a union card have the opportunity to vote for or against strike action. If you have not yet signed a union card but would like to participate in a strike vote, you can sign your card electronically at www.psacunion.com/rand.

Taking a strike vote doesn’t automatically mean that there will be a strike. There is nothing stopping the union and employer from meeting again at any time. It may happen before a strike occurs or while a strike is taking place.

The best outcome is when the parties reach a tentative agreement before a strike takes place. But sometimes it takes a strike to get the employer to make a better offer by showing how seriously members support their bargaining demands.

When a strike takes place, the parties usually reach an agreement voluntarily.


Essential Services

During the bargaining process, the union and the employer work to determine which services will be considered essential and continue in the event of a strike. Members in positions where work has been deemed essential will be required to work during a strike but can support striking members in other ways.

It is the employer’s responsibility to provide ‘essential’ workers with a letter notifying them of their status.

Choosing the type of strike

The purpose of a strike is to put the maximum amount of pressure on YG in order to reach a settlement. When talks break down, the union assesses what kind of action may be needed to get the employer to make the best possible offer.

Find out more about different types of strikes HERE

Finalizing a New Collective Agreement

Whenever the union and the employer agree on a tentative agreement, the members have the final say. Meetings are held to explain the changes in the tentative agreement and a ratification vote is held. If a majority of members vote in favour, a new collective agreement will be signed.

If members reject the tentative agreement before strike action has been needed, this could trigger more bargaining and/or a strike. If a strike was already in progress, it may continue. At some point, the strike will end and there will be a new agreement.

And then the process begins all over again for the next agreement!

 



Yukon Government Bargaining Reaches Impasse

Media Release January 13, 2023

Talks between the Public Service Alliance of Canada and Government of Yukon broke down late January 12th.

The federally appointed mediator has “concluded that the parties have reached a point where, at this time, further mediation would not be productive” and as such, the mediator has concluded this phase of negotiations.

The two sides were unable to reach agreement on monetary items sufficient for all members.

The Union team was seeking additional financial improvements for all members who work for the Yukon Government however the employer team was unprepared to meet those requests. The PSAC/YEU team is optimistic that new political leadership will revisit the government’s monetary mandate.

Yukon Employees’ Union and the PSAC will be checking in with the membership soon to discuss next steps.

“After well over a year at the table, it’s extremely disappointing that the employer fails to recognize the needs of the communities our members serve” says YEU President Steve Geick. “These workers have brought us through incredibly challenging times without the necessary supports, both in staffing levels and compensation. We urge this government to direct the employer to deliver a better offer to their workforce.”

“We hope the differences between parties can be resolved quickly” adds Lorraine Rousseau, PSAC’s Regional Executive Vice President North. “Our members give 100% every day; they deserve better, and they have waited long enough”.

YG Bargaining Process at a Glance

YG Bargaining Process; Written Primer 

 


We Wanted a Fair Deal for Christmas:

Our letter to Santa was pretty short; all we wanted for Christmas was a fair deal for all YG workers. What we got was a lump of coal and an invitation to try again in the New Year.

We recently updated you on our bargaining sessions held in late November. As we concluded those talks, the employer team promised they would come back to us this week with a revised economic mandate. They needed to request that YG's Management Board update their mandate and provide the team with an improved financial offer.

In a truly Grinch move, the employer's team did NOT come back with a complete revised financial offer. In fact, they have again asked us to hold off while they go back to management board for a revised revised offer.

So, what does this mean?

We are no further ahead than we were at the end of our last session two weeks ago. READ MORE



A Fair Deal for All YG Workers

No more band-aid solutions. Tell the employer to come back to the table with a fair agreement for ALL Government of Yukon workers now!

Sign on now to show your support for your bargaining team as they head back to the table to fight for an agreement that treats ALL Government of Yukon workers with the respect and dignity you deserve. Complete the linked form and help mobilize your workplace.


YEU Monetary Bargaining Proposals as submitted to the employer

Non-Monetary Bargaining Proposals as submitted to the employer

Read the Community Healthcare Investment Fund Proposal as submitted to the employer

Read the proposed Mass Vaccination Clinic Letter of Understanding as Tabled



The employer wants to end the accumulation of severance pay for voluntary departure.

We fought them at the last round of bargaining and we're still fighting. In 2019 when the employer tried to eliminate severance pay, a member survey garnered hundreds of responses from workers for whom this was an extremely important issue. Holding on to severance pay is still extremely important to you, and the bargaining team is holding firm.

Current severance provisions:

Severance is like a deferred long-term savings plan. It is in place to financially support members when they voluntarily make transitions from YG to other situations (retirement and resignation) or involuntary situations like being laid off.

The amount that severance is worth depends on two things:

  • Your weekly salary at the time of your departure, and
  • The circumstances of your departure, i.e. If you are laid-off, resign, or retire.

Lay-off provisions are not changing from what is currently in the Collective Agreement (Article 19.01). The employer has not proposed any changes, so they are not addressed here.

Upon Retirement (Article 19.06 in the Collective Agreement):

If you retire, your severance is worth 1 week’s pay for every year you’ve worked. The amount is calculated based on the rate of pay at the time you retire. There is no minimum amount of time you must work for YG to qualify, but the maximum number of weeks that can be paid out is 29. In essence, severance upon retirement is worth 1.9% of your final annual pay for every year you’ve worked.

Example: If you’ve worked for 10 years, and your weekly pay is $1200, your current severance is worth

$1200 x 10 = $12,000.

If you continue to work for another 10 years, and during that time your pay increases to $1600 per week, your severance upon retirement will be worth

$1600 x 20 = $32,000

Upon Resignation (Article 19.05)

If you resign, your severance is worth half (1/2) a week’s pay for every year you work for YG. Again, the amount is based on your wage at the time of resignation. In order to qualify, you must have worked for a minimum of 5 years. The maximum number of weeks that can be paid out is 28. In essence, severance upon resignation is worth about 1% of your final annual pay for every year you’ve worked.

Example: If you’ve worked for 10 years, your current weekly salary is $1200, and you chose to resign, your severance will be worth:

($1200/2) x 10 = $6,000

If you work an additional 10 years, and your pay increases to $1600 per week, then the amount would be:

($1600/2) x 20 = $16,000

It's likely that you will be at a higher pay level when you leave the government than when you started; severance will be paid out at the rate of pay you have achieved at the time of your departure.

The monetary "value" of severance varies considerably from person to person depending on your years of service, your career plan, and the conditions under which you might expect to take severance pay.

In the case of voluntary departure for whatever reason, severance is intended to bridge the financial gap that occurs between the conclusion of your job with the government and whatever comes next for you, such as a return to school, a career change, or awaiting your pension upon retirement.  


What has YG proposed?

Stop the accumulation of severance for voluntary departures (resignation, retirement) effective December 31, 2021.  There will be no more accumulation of severance except for layoffs.  

The bargaining team does not agree with this initial government proposal. Losing voluntary severance will result in a financial loss affecting ALL members now and in the future, in different ways.  

The loss of severance will create two classes of employees – those who have severance and those who will never have the opportunity to accumulate it for voluntary departure (resignation and retirement). The loss of severance reduces options for career planning and retirement flexibility.

All employees with a year or more of service at December 31, 2021 would keep the severance pay accrued to date, but would never earn more for resignation or retirement purposes.

Current employees with less than five years of service as of December 31, 2021 would not be eligible for severance payout if they resign.

If you are laid off, severance would be payable.

In these inflationary times, YG has not offered any sufficiently attractive financial alternative to make up for this loss.

We appreciate all the support you have shown to the Bargaining Team as negotiations continue.



YG Bargaining Update, August 2022

Bargaining Update, July 11, 2022

We're back to the table July 19th with a conciliator and the employer. Read More HERE


Send your bargaining team a message of support right nowusing this online form. 

What is your Bargaining Team fighting for?

Severance Pay

The employer wants your severance pay. In fact, they're trying to use severance as a bargaining chip against a negotiated pay increase; if we agree to get rid of severance, they've offered a princely .8% bump to your increase in the first year.  That will give you a net benefit of the square root of no *$# way, and we're not taking it.

They want to make sure no new employees will have any severance provisions - new colleagues won't have the same rights you do, and we don't believe in two-tiered workplaces. Severance pay is part of your negotiated wage package - eliminating that provision is a wage claw back and we don't do concession bargaining.

Fair Wages

The employer is offering paltry wage increases. Your team is holding fast for a wage increase that's fair and will help to keep pace with skyrocketing inflation.

We haven't seen the CPI this high since 1973, and a 2% pay raise isn't going to make much difference against inflation of 7.2% and more.  You are doing everything you can to stretch your dollars, but without a decent pay increase, you'll be losing ground. We're fighting for your ability to pay your bills and keep food on the table.

Overtime/Comp Leave

The employer wants to cap your ability to accrue comp leave in lieu of overtime pay. Your bargaining team knows time off is critical for mental health and well-being, and they are fighting to protect this provision; your extra time on the job should be restored to you when you're able to take leave.

For too many YG workers, low staffing levels mean that overtime is a fact of life. Many of you aren't given much choice either; refusing overtime shifts is often not an option, whether overtly stated by management or a reality of the needs of the job. Your commitment to the job and those you serve means you'll work overtime to make sure important work doesn't grind to a halt.

Compensatory leave in lieu of overtime payout is one negotiated benefit that helps exhausted workers maintain work-life balance. When a worker is called upon to work overtime, knowing the extra hours are being banked for time off can be a light at the end of the tunnel. And while it's true that many workers have had vacation denied due to operational requirements (critical staffing levels), protecting the ability to choose banked time off is a priority in this round.

YG is trying to restrict your ability to get your personal time back in the form of compensatory leave. They've offered an arbitrary annual maximum accrual limit, and once you've reached that cap, you'll be paid out in taxable wages. And even if you use some of those banked hours (trading them back for time away from work), any further overtime will be paid out in wages - taxable, of course. Once you've maxed out the comp hours, you can't refill that leave bank until the next year. We don't bargain concessions, and this is a big one.

What can you do?



Bargaining Update, June 2022

As you will have heard by now, talks between the Government of Yukon and your union bargaining team have reached an impasse. 

Despite starting talks early in September of 2021, the YEU/PSAC bargaining team and that of the Yukon government are further apart than we have seen in more than 20 years.

For the first time, we have applied to the Yukon Public Service Labour Relations Board for conciliation. In essence, we have broken off talks with the employer.

Dates have been set for discussions with a board appointed mediator, July 19-22. With the mediator's help, will try and find a way forward to an agreement that is fair to you and your co-workers.

Please remind your colleagues to subscribe for email updates as the bargaining process continues. We will only distribute updates to personal email addresses, so if you know of people who are not receiving bargaining updates, suggest they visit yeu.ca/subscribe to provide a personal email address. 

 


Bargaining Update, Government of Yukon, April 20, 2022

Bargaining with the Yukon government has been underway since last fall, and we've tried to keep members updated as we go. With that in mind, we have some important information to share as we enter this next phase of bargaining.

This is an overview - some highlights from the Financial Proposal tabled with the Yukon Government on April 17, 2022. Below is a list of some of the items we have proposed to the employer.

  1. A fair wage increases for all employees – this includes proposing a wage increase to keep pace with inflation.

  2. Benefit premium increases for AOC employees.

  3. The Union proposed a more equitable pay approach for all nurses as well as new pay grids for the following groups of employees:

    • Nurses and Midwives, Paramedics, Home Support Workers and Nursing Home Attendants

    • the Student Support Services group be moved to the Education Consultant Pay Grid.

The current wages are inferior when compared to other northern and southern jurisdictions.  Wage adjustments with competitive and pensionable wage increases are needed meet the ongoing demand for all these workers. These increases are critical to retain staff, and absolutely imperative to recruit new staff.

Our proposal package also included the following: 

  1. Restoration of 10 days sick leave for each employee due to the pandemic and the uneven application of sick leave and family related leave.

  2. Improvements in shift premiums.

  3. Additional financial compensation to retain Correctional Service employees

  4. A multi-year Community Health Investment Fund to address First Nation and Community identified needs and priorities. In particular, the focus was placed on catchment areas where there are nursing stations or paramedic services and no hospital facilities. The need is now, and we believe it is a more immediate avenue for support and shoring up of services as well as future development.

    • Funding envelopes would include: education initiatives (i.e. tuition support), Indigenous recruitment and development, housing supports, enhanced relocation assistance, student co-op programs

  5. The Union team has tabled a letter of understanding to protect current employees in the event the YG implements its Putting People First (Wellness Yukon) initiative prior to the expiry of a new Collective Agreement.

This is your bargaining team, still hard at work April 14 - they've been at this work for months, and they're not done yet. Support for the team goes a long way as they represent the interests of the membership to the employer. 


Bargaining Update April 8, 2022

We hope you have subscribed for emailed bargaining updates, sent to our members following each round of talks with the employer; the next set of discussions begins April 11.

Over the last six weeks, the YEU/PSAC bargaining team and union leadership have held a series of virtual Town Hall meetings with workers from several work areas to establish bargaining priorities and get the membership's direction.

Bargaining Update meetings were held in Faro, Mayo and Dawson City in late March, allowing members to talk with YEU President Steve Geick and PSAC Negotiator Erna Post.  The employer has proposed a number of items including concessions, which we will not entertain; members have been clear that they want the team to continue to hold the line. We're planning more meetings - watch for dates and information in your inbox.

Some of the issues we've been discussing at the table and with our members:

  • Hours of work: schedule changes continue to threaten workers in the department of Justice, jeopardizing family obligations and childcare arrangements, and further exposing workers to the health risks associated with disruptive shift work.

  • Under Staffing: Healthcare workers who have shouldered the burden of the pandemic still hold the line, even while already critical staffing levels plummet thanks to burnout and punitive leave policies deny them the restorative breaks they so desperately need. Community health centres are approaching crisis levels; our critical front line workers need safe alternatives to working alone or when they're exhausted from over work.

  • Abuse of AOC's and Overtime: Auxiliary On-Call workers do the same job as those they labour alongside, and we continue to demand a reformation of the policies governing the employment status and working conditions of AOC's. The Yukon government should be hiring more AOC's into permanent positions, reducing the reliance on overtime and building a stronger, more resilient workforce.

  • People First: The government's plan to create a stand-alone health authority has raised many concerns for the union. Without clarity, we are particularly concerned about job security for healthcare workers, pension migration and more. In other parts of Canada, the transition to health authority has been a gateway to privatization of health services - something we cannot accept.

 


Bargaining Update December 9, 2021:

The proposals and discussion items in the Union package reflect the mandate provided to the team through a combination of the bargaining conference held in August, the membership survey held earlier this year, and the proposal input call that concluded in June.

Wages/benefits and other proposals with monetary implications are on RESERVE; this means they will be discussed in more detail at later stages of the bargaining process.

This set of Union proposals includes previously proposed changes ranging from editorial fixes to making the Collective Agreement more accessible to our indigenous members. This package has been expanded further to include further significant changes to the collective agreement including:

  1. Continued emphasis on a more creative approach to the crisis affecting front line health care workers including the proposed Vaccination Clinic LOU, and other discussion items with regards to taking a holistic approach to health.
  2. Fundamental changes to the Respectful Workplace process – see Articles 5 and 6

Discussion items include:

  1. Remote work
  2. Pandemic leave

We plan to hold some group-specific meetings in the new year, including town hall meetings for front line workers.

It looks like Yukon government is going after severance again. Although we have not yet seen a detailed proposal, they have indicated their plan to propose this and other roll backs to your collective agreement. The union will not engage in concessionary bargaining; this means we will not accept roll-backs or agree to a contract that leaves our members with less than when negotiations began. 

We will be back at the bargaining table the week of December 13th and will provide more information as bargaining progresses. Please make sure you're subscribed for email updates so you don't miss meeting information or future updates.  Visit yeu.ca/subscribe and stay connected.

YEU Monetary Bargaining Proposals as submitted to the employer

Non-Monetary Bargaining Proposals as submitted to the employer

Read the Community Healthcare Investment Fund Proposal as submitted to the employer

Read the proposed Mass Vaccination Clinic Letter of Understanding as Tabled


Bargaining Update November 24, 2021:

The YEU/PSAC non-monetary bargaining team met with the employer’s team the week of November 15th. This first round of talks is intended to cover items that have little or no financial impact, and generally sets expectations for what workers will see from the government as bargaining continues.

The State of Emergency in the Yukon has once again had significant impact, felt very keenly by healthcare workers who have given so much in support of the health of Yukoners. Our team tabled a Letter of Understanding to address the demands placed on these workers as the COVID pandemic rages on. The response from YG was grossly inadequate, and our team was very disappointed in the outcome.

To support the work of the bargaining team going forward, we have established two small working groups based on some of the priorities established during the bargaining conference held in August.

One working group will be comprised of Indigenous members to assist in the bargaining team’s efforts to decolonize our collective agreement. This is an important step in the path towards reconciliation, and one that cannot be pursued without the input of members who are of First Nations, Inuit and Metis descent.

We are also establishing a working group of nurses to assist our team with their work to reform the current YG contract to address public health worker pay, workplace safety and working conditions.

Unresolved matters, including the Letter of Understanding will be carried forward to negotiations beginning the week of November 29th.

Read the Letter of Understanding as Tabled HERE

See our Bargaining Proposals as submitted to the employer HERE


We're preparing to negotiate a new Collective Agreement; it's time to get involved!

The negotiated contract between the Government of Yukon and Yukon Employees' Union/the Public Service Alliance of Canada will expire on December 31 of this year. 

View the Collective Agreement HERE


We will communicate with the membership through email blasts throughout the pre-bargaining and bargaining process. If you have not received an email on either the bargaining survey or the Bargaining Input Call, it is likely that you have not subscribed to emailed updates. If you believe you've subscribed but are still not receiving emails, please check your spam box, or visit the link below to update your information.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY FOR BARGAINING UPDATE EMAILS


YEU Members working for YG should have received a special newsletter in their home mailbox in May. It's here, if you missed it.


The Bargaining Input process is now closed. Well before we meet the employer at the bargaining table, we receive and review bargaining proposal submissions from YG Locals and directly from members. These proposals guide the efforts of the entire process. 


              

 

 

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