YG Bargaining 2021

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YG Bargaining Update, August 2022

As you know, your Yukon Government workers' bargaining team met with the employer for conciliation meetings the week of July 19th. 

While negotiations progressed and considerable time was spent on critical incident leave and the Respectful Workplace Office, to date nothing new has been signed off or finalized on that front.

We believe the Government of Yukon is in agreement with the Union that the policies and practices of the Respectful Workplace Office cannot continue unchanged, and that there will be important changes to how the employer deals with human rights complaints in the future. 

We made progress on a number of other outstanding items and have narrowed the list of outstanding issues, however there are a number of priorities still unresolved. These include (but are not limited to) severance, wages and benefits. 

We are working to finalize dates for our next set of talks but due to scheduling constraints, those will be held later this year. 

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. For every year you work, you will have one week of pay set aside for you to a maximum of 30 weeks of pay. 

The value of your severance is 1 week of pay for each year of your service.* (article 19)

It is, in effect, an additional 1.9% that is set aside annually for you by the employer and it continues to accumulate year over year

So, if you work for the government for six years, six weeks of severance is set aside for you - ten years, ten weeks of severance pay is set aside for you and so on. 

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.


Bargaining Update, July 11, 2022
We're back to the table July 19th with a conciliator and the employer.

Negotiating a strong collective agreement requires a clear vision, determination, and the ability to keep pace even when the going is rough. This round of bargaining with the government of Yukon has all the markings of a marathon but we are rock solid and ready to meet the next challenge.

Your bargaining team consists of workers elected by your peers from the participants at last year's Bargaining Conference. The two elected teams have represented your interests in the initial non-monetary discussions, and again at the table for the monetary bargaining discussions.

PSAC officially filed for conciliation when our talks stalled out in late spring - the first time we have done so in over 50 years of contract negotiations with the Yukon government. We wanted bargaining to progress but could not move forward with the employer at that time. YG bargaining is always difficult but we have never, in our history, had to enlist the aid of the Yukon Public Service Labour Relations Board to reach a deal with this employer.

Your bargaining team will meet with the board-appointed mediator and the employer's team next week, and we are ready.  They've heard from workers and they know what matters to you.

With your support, they will hold the line to preserve your rights, hard-won thanks to the efforts of many previous bargaining teams and their dedication to upholding the collective bargaining process.

Below are just a few of the items the team is holding out for as talks resume.

Send your bargaining team a message of support right now using 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 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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