What's happening now?
Update as of May 26th, 2023
Members Vote to Ratify New Collective Agreement
Extraordinary attendance was observed at contract ratification meetings held across the Yukon last week. After today’s ballot count, we can say that Yukon Government workers have voted overwhelmingly to accept the tentative deal, ratifying their new contract.
This Collective Agreement, retroactive to January 1, 2022, will be in effect until December 31, 2024. Yukon Employees’ Union and the Public Service Alliance of Canada represent this bargaining unit, numbering approximately 3500 members. Read Media Release
Update as of May 26th, 2023
A tentative agreement has been achieved between the Government of Yukon’s unionized workers and the employer. Both the union and employer have accepted the unanimous, non-binding recommendations of the Conciliation Board’s Executive Panel following meetings held on the May long weekend. Read Media Release
While originally planned as strike vote meetings, members will instead receive a tentative contract, recommended by the Bargaining Team, for review. The changes proposed to the previous contract will be explained and questions answered after which a contract ratification vote will follow. Click HERE to see the schedule for these meetings.
Update as of March 15th, 2023
In accordance with the Yukon Public Service Labour Relations Act, a three-member conciliation board has been officially established.
The Union representative will be Gary Cwitco, the Employer representative will be Catharine Read and Jacquie de Aguayo will be chairperson, agreed to by both parties.
Each bargaining team will present their submissions to the board through virtual hearings slated for April 29 and 30, with the possibility of an additional day of hearings if the chairperson of the panel becomes available on April 28.
After the hearings, the board will consider what has been presented and discussed, and will provide a non-binding report to the Labour Relations Board Chairperson within fourteen days, or within a longer period agreed to by the parties, or as directed by the Labour relations Board Chairperson.
The non-binding report will be made public and members will have access to this report.
This is a necessary next step in the bargaining process.
Update as of February 16th, 2023
After over a year of slow negotiations, talks finally broke down on January 13, 2023. This prompted the bargaining team to move to the next step required by the Yukon Public Service Labour Relations Act – requesting the establishment of a conciliation board.
A conciliation board is a panel of three people: one selected by the Union, one selected by the employer, and a mutually-agreeable chairperson. Both sides are expected to formally argue their positions to the board, and the board then issues a non-binding report on how to proceed. The ideal outcome is that the board’s recommendations move the parties toward an agreement.
The conciliation board is the last legally required step before disruptive labour action can occur. If the board is unhelpful (as is often the case elsewhere) then the only option that members have left to shift the employer’s position is to take direct action – to strike.
When will the pay raises mentioned in the new collective agreement be implemented?
The pay raises mentioned in the new collective agreement will be implemented by the Yukon Government (YG), starting from the upcoming payday on July 12, 2023. Retroactive wage payments will be made from October 4, 2023, ensuring compensation for the period covered by the new agreement. For more details, please refer to the ratification document shared by email and media release linked below. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to the YG Bargaining Team.
Who is eligible for retro pay?
Only employees actively working for the Yukon Government (YG) at the time of ratification will receive retroactive pay. Acting pay rate increases (5% to 10%) will not be applied retroactively; they take effect from June 6, 2023, onward. Those who left voluntarily before June 6, 2023, will not be eligible for retroactive pay.
Why did we not choose Arbitration?
Why did the bargaining team not opt for arbitration as a solution to the impasse?
We did not choose arbitration primarily because we want to leave the determination of workplace working conditions in the hands of our members as an arbitrator's decision would be imposed. Choosing arbitration would amount to taking away members' democratic right to vote and handing critical decisions over to a third party without the context and understanding of the workplace and that our members have.
What’s the big deal with Wellness Yukon?
The government plans to offload government services to an arm’s-length health authority. This devolution could mean the migration of entire departments; payroll employees, administrative support, child support staff, all related elements of social services, home support workers, nursing home attendants, paramedics and yes, all nurses employed by the Yukon government. The plan will most likely include the merger of all staff from Yukon hospitals and community health centres. It could affect fewer than five hundred people or it could impact greater than a thousand members – we just don’t know. Apparently, neither does the Employer. The employer is also unable to provide any certainty when it comes to timelines for the implementation of this plan. Changes could come as soon as a few months from now or could take a year or more to begin. Again, we just don’t know.
We are fighting to protect your benefits, pensions, and working conditions. We’re fighting for everyone who will be transferred to the health authority, and we are fighting for members’ right to choose whether they stay or go. We are also fighting to keep provisions intact for members who will or choose to remain employed by the Yukon government following a devolution.
We expect the creation and implementation of a new health authority to have far-reaching impacts on Yukoners and our members, whether or not their positions are devolved.
There is no reason to believe that creating a new health authority will be the quick fix that changes the troubling trend of understaffing and overwork that so many of you face every day on the job. A new health authority is not a magic bullet that will miraculously result in better services or ensure more successful outcomes.
We are working to build in protections for members before the transfer; we don’t intend to wait until after the damage has been done.
What is the Union’s Wage Proposal?
Our last proposal for general economic increases remains 4.5%, 3%, 3%. Our position has not changed since we presented this just before Easter in April of 2022. As everyone knows, inflation has spiked dramatically since then. We hope our presentation to the Conciliation Board results in some creative recommendations to help us reach agreement with the government. The Board cannot force a settlement, but their recommendations and the recent Treasury Board settlement may help guide the way to an acceptable path to settlement. We will not know the content of the Board’s recommendations until at least the end of May.
YG’s offer still remains inadequate and unacceptable to the bargaining team. The Employer is doubling down by proposing that going forward, severance will be frozen. This will result in a further 1.9% reduction in your total compensation.
We have heard rumours suggesting that “YG must have agreed to an increase to meet inflation”. Our team only wishes that were true. It’s the exact opposite. Apparently, we were asking for too much and the Employer team walked away from Conciliation talks.
At the 2021 Bargaining Conference, the membership gave the Bargaining Team a mandate to secure general wage increases for everyone. We were also mandated to negotiate better wages for the following specific occupational groups: correctional officers, paramedics, nursing home attendants, home support workers, student support services and nurses.
Who qualifies as a member in-good-standing?
A member in-good-standing is someone who has completed, signed, and submitted a PSAC membership application. This can be provided by the employer at the start of one's employment, supplied by a union representative like a Shop Steward or a Local President, or supplied by the union. The Digital Membership Application form is linked HERE.
If you are unsure whether or not you are a member in-good-standing, you can inquire by emailing [email protected] or by calling Membership Services: (867) 667-2331.
What's at stake besides severance pay?
Besides hanging on to our negotiated severance pay, what are the issues most concerning to the union team? Beyond severance, what is at stake?
Key demands that remain outstanding include those related to fair pay, adequate recruitment and retention measures, and the health and safety of both government workers and the public. And of course, the government still wants to take away members’ severance. We also have concerns about the anticipated impacts of the government's implementation of Wellness Yukon, the planned health authority often referred to as "Putting People First".
Please review the bargaining updates on outstanding issues here: https://www.yeu.ca/yg_bargaining_2021
How could YG take away severance pay?
I was told that the employer was “trying to take away severance pay” however this is confusing. Isn't the employer bound by the Canada Labour Code which has a minimum requirement for severance pay when an employee quits their job?
Yukon government workers are not governed the Canada Labour Code, but by the Yukon Public Service Labour Relations Act. There is no default legislation like the Yukon Employment Standards Act or the Code because the Government of Yukon has exempted themselves from such labour standards legislation.
Even though there are statutory minimums, the current severance provisions amount to the equivalent of 1.9% of your income that is set aside on your behalf each and every year. This is far beyond any statutory minimums you may find elsewhere. Taking away 1.9% is still a concession and what YG members have is certainly a large step up from the labour code.
When will the new Yukon Government Workers contract be updated on the website?
How do I get a hard copy?
Once the contract has been signed by all parties, both the union and the employer’s legal teams review to ensure the language reflects the intent agreed to at the bargaining table. Once it’s been signed off by legal, the contract document is created, edited for accuracy, and sent to be printed. This can take several months, and a digital file is usually available before hard copies are printed.
Watch your email inbox and your Local webpage for the finalized digital copy. If you’d like a hard copy, you can request one from your supervisor or HR office. The employer prints the contracts and is responsible for their distribution to members.