Whitehorse Daily Star

New YFL head ready to tackle major issues

After its latest convention, the Yukon Federation of Labour (YFL) has a new president to represent the territory’s workers.

By Ethan Lycan-Lang on December 19, 2022

After its latest convention, the Yukon Federation of Labour (YFL) has a new president to represent the territory’s workers.

The federation will focus on health care, housing and cost of living as the workforce moves beyond the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Dec. 10, members elected Teresa Acheson, a longtime staffer for the City of Whitehorse with years of union experience, as the new president.

She most recently represented Whitehorse municipal workers through the Yukon Employees’ Union as an executive for Local Y04.

Acheson said she’s ready to step into the new role, but it will take some adjusting.

“It will be a learning thing for me to start getting to know the other affiliates, the other unions that are in the territory,” Acheson told the Star last week.

The federation is an umbrella organization of affiliated unions and locals from around the territory.

The group advocates for workers’ rights, unionized or not, and acts as a labour stakeholder on territorial and federal boards and committees. It’s funded by its approximately 7,000 affiliated union members.

The convention outlined a number of resolutions around issues the YFL will focus on going forward.

Acheson said the organization will focus on housing, health care and making the Yukon an attractive spot for workers from outside the territory.

Acheson said attracting workers to the Yukon is only half the battle as the territory grapples with a labour shortage.

“We realize there’s high inflation rates right now,” she said.

“The bank rates have just risen again; housing is a real crisis in the Yukon. We might be able to attract workers, but then they can’t actually stay and live in the end for the housing.”

Acheson said YFL is aware of these issues and will raise them repeatedly with government leaders to make economic expansion “sustainable” in the Yukon.

Acheson will be replacing Ron Rousseau, who decided not to re-offer after four years as YFL president.

He said strengthening social safety nets that were revealed to be lacking during the pandemic should now be a major focus of YFL.

He said ensuring Yukoners have not only health benefits, but access to health care, is a priority.

The Yukon has struggled with recruitment and retention of medical professionals as well as a lack of walk-in clinics.

Rousseau said he’s confident Acheson is ready to lead the YFL on these issues.

“Theresa has got a really good handle on what workers’ rights are,” he said in an interview last week.

Her experience with the Public Service Alliance of Canada gives her special experience to tackle human rights and women’s rights issues, Rousseau added.

“I’m really excited to see what she does going forward.”

Comments (3)

Up 0 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Dec 21, 2022 at 2:54 pm

Congratulations on your appointment Ms. Acheson. I have a question for you, How do you think the disparity betwen unionized workers and the rest of the labour force could be narrowed? Each time a new contract is approved the gap grows wider. Low and fixed income households must suck up another notch on the finacial belt while our tax dollars are redirected to pay your members more. Inflation takes many forms.

Up 6 Down 5

Max Mack on Dec 20, 2022 at 12:19 am

I welcome union organizations that advocate for all workers . . . not fringe interests.

Also, we need unions that are willing to stand up to the government on key authority narratives . . . like vaccine mandates, mandatory masking and other pandemic related nonsense.

Up 30 Down 6

One sided conversations on Dec 19, 2022 at 1:39 pm

Fix the toxic work environment first! Quit wasting our time with stupid crap you/we cannot control. You are a labour rep not a finance minister - This is the L-NDP’s fault.

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