Whitehorse Daily Star

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FAMILIAR SIGHT VANISHES – The picket line – a fixture in front of the Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services building on Fourth Avenue since last Nov. 2 – was gone Tuesday morning, as employees reviewed and voted on the agreement that ended the lengthy labour dispute.

Many Rivers breaks silence on dispute

Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services’ board and management say they’re “extremely pleased” about reaching a contract agreement with their employees.

By Whitehorse Star on January 25, 2019

Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services’ board and management say they’re “extremely pleased” about reaching a contract agreement with their employees.

The workers ratified the contract Tuesday, ending a bitter strike that had begun Nov. 2, 2018.

“The collective bargaining process is complicated, and requires a considerable amount of thought and analysis in order to respond to both the demands of the employees and the duty we have to protect the funds entrusted to us as a non-profit society,” Many Rivers said in a statement Wednesday.

“While this set of negotiations was difficult, we are satisfied that our efforts have resulted in a contract which is fair and reasonable for both sides.”

The duration of the agreement is April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2022.

The Yukon Employees’ Union, which represents the workers, said they will see a seven per cent increase in their base salary over the five years.

But according to Many Rivers’ statement, “The wage allotment is 8.5 per cent over five years. In addition to other enhanced benefits, there will be more flexible scheduling, meaning that most employees will, within parameters they are provided, be able to choose their individual starting, ending and meal times each day.

“With a minimum four weeks’ vacation, 24 wellness days, and the 13 statutory holidays the employees already receive, we feel this to be an equitable settlement.”

The agency, formerly known as the Yukon Family Services Association, is now focused on resuming services to the communities, it said.

“Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services has been serving the Yukon for nearly 50 years,” the statement said.

“Its dedicated group of managers, employees and volunteers are committed to those who are seeking assistance for a variety of reasons.

“We are proud community members and work every day to make a difference in the lives of others. We want to assure our clients and others that our dedication will not waver going forward. “

The Whitehorse office will reopen for business on Feb. 6. The offices in Dawson City, Haines Junction and Watson Lake will open the following day.

“We are looking forward to opening our doors to welcome you, and renew our pledge that we will continue to provide professional, confidential, supportive services, as we have done over the past 50 years,” Many Rivers said.

“We thank you for both your patience and your support.”

See letter.

Comments (9)

Up 3 Down 0

Bandit, hope that you don't ever require a councellor on Jan 31, 2019 at 9:20 pm

I read a lot of finger pointing here. Like if you're a councillor you're using the system and taking days off to be lazy and do what you like. Not in my experience...and when you need a councillor, you might change your tune and respect the help that they give you/your family/your child/ your marriage. I feel the strike went on way too long. That is management's fault. Don't blame your councillor.

Up 5 Down 1

Always Questions on Jan 30, 2019 at 7:45 pm

@Bandit, that's some creative arithmetic you got going on there, can you show the formula's?
It's what you said YukoneRC & Dennis - it's available if it's needed, it wasn't clear in the article, but it's a use it or lose it annual benefit until the next negotiation in 2022?
The sad part of life is that trauma happens, usually unexpectedly and inconveniently. My experience supports support for both the victims and the healers. It's worth it.

Up 11 Down 14

Bandit on Jan 28, 2019 at 2:57 pm

I don't know where they are going to fit in the 24 wellness days?

So you want a day off? Let's take a look at what you are asking for!
There are 365 days this year.
There are 52 weeks per year in which you already have 2 days off per week, leaving 261 days available for work.
Since you spend 16 hours each day away from work, you have used up 170 days, leaving only 91 days available.
You spend 30 minutes each day on coffee break. That accounts for 23 days each year, leaving only 68 days available.
With a one hour lunch period each day, you have used up another 46 days, leaving only 22 days available for work.
You normally spend 2 days per year on sick leave. This leaves you only 20 days available for work.
We are off for 5 holidays per year, so your available working time is down to 15 days.
We generously give you 14 days vacation per year which leaves only one day available for work and I'll be damned if you're going to take that day off!

Up 21 Down 10

Matt on Jan 27, 2019 at 3:19 pm

Fully 1/4 of the year is time off + weekends of course and the work-yur-own-hours....no wonder they braved the picket lines.....this was a coup d'etat.

Up 26 Down 6

YukoneRC on Jan 26, 2019 at 9:04 pm

Wellness days are essentially sick days. Lots of people don't ever take them even though they can. I would also assume that because this employer isn't calling it sick leave, that the time doesn't roll over from one year to the next and is gone if it isn't used. This statement from the employer about vacation time and wellness days is merely just management patting themselves on the back and seems like a distraction from the fact that they were totally silent for 80 days while clients desperately needed to access services.

Up 21 Down 8

Dennis the Menace strikes again? on Jan 26, 2019 at 5:56 pm

@ Wow - People who counsel others bear witness to human despair. They often work with individuals who have endured the psychological and physical cruelty of other human beings; emotional abuse, psychological abuse, assault, stalking, sexual assault and on and on.

Counselors must ensure that they are not in a state of impaired psychological functioning so that they can be available for those who are suffering. Counselors must process and work through their own vicarious traumatization. This requires the ethical counselor to process and work through the horrors that others inflict upon others - This is very difficult work.

The time off is necessary. Their are an awful lot of impaired workers [counselors - cough, cough] at MWSUS who would benefit from discussing their own impairments. But hey, why not propagate ignorance through silly, off the cuff commentary.

Up 14 Down 14

Accountability of tax dollars on Jan 26, 2019 at 12:56 pm

It seems a major tussle in the fight with management - couched in client care language - was wanting "more" time off, i.e having the privilege to book as the workers wish, generally translating to seeing less people than more. Apparently management did not take kindly to seeing tax monies going to waste and wanted accountability from those who profess they're indispensable to public health. Cushy job, and let's help make it cushier.

Up 27 Down 13

Wow on Jan 25, 2019 at 5:24 pm

Not taking away from the service they provide and the people who need those services, but 4 weeks holiday plus 24 days (almost 5 weeks!) of "wellness days"! That's 9.5 weeks of paid time off in a year. Did I ever pick the wrong vocation, lol

Up 66 Down 8

Thomas Brewer on Jan 25, 2019 at 2:53 pm

Glad there's an agreement in place, now let's see the detailed books and hold a legitimate AGM.

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