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Steve Geick

Pandemic has seen YEU fighting for its members: president

The president of the Yukon Employees’ Union (YEU) says he fears conditions for many workers have deteriorated during the course of the pandemic.

By Tim Giilck on January 11, 2021

The president of the Yukon Employees’ Union (YEU) says he fears conditions for many workers have deteriorated during the course of the pandemic.

In the latest newsletter from the union, Steve Geick referenced what he’s been hearing from union members and workers in general.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have received mixed messages from our members,” he wrote.

“Some employers have been stellar in their responses to keeping employees safe while others still seem to be scrambling.

“Very few have been proactive when it comes to offering any relief with leave options that protect existing leave banks. For the most part, YEU has had to fight and shame employers for any additional leave options.”

In the newsletter, he singled out the Yukon Hospital Corp. for criticism. He followed up on that criticism during an interview with the Star.

“We were told early on that people were being shuffled around, to some inappropriate places,” Geick said.

“It was our members that had to call an emergency meeting of the health and safety committee.

“What was management’s initial response? Forcing staff that were involved to sign a non-disclosure letter, a gag order.”

The hospital corporation advised the Star in late 2020 that it will not publicly discuss matters involving its employees.

Geick said hospital employees have filed complaints over health and safety concerns with the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.

In at least one case, that complaint involved being assigned to work space that was a retrofitted washroom and storage closet, he said.

The health and safety board would not discuss whether it’s investigating the complaints from hospital workers.

“We can’t comment on the substance of any claim or any individual workplace’s relationship to an injury claim for privacy reasons. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to provide you with the information you’re looking for,” Heather Avery, a communication consultant with the board, told the Star.

Geick said such situations left workers unable to follow proper pandemic distancing requirements.

“These are some of the largest employers in Yukon, setting the standard for everyone else,” Geick said.

“People are being put in places where they couldn’t follow safety regulations. These are being investigated right now.

“It’s hard to say how common this is, though, because people are reluctant to come forward. We’ve had to intervene for some members.”

The long-time president’s single biggest concern is the lack of paid sick leave for anyone having to take time off due to COVID-19.

“It’s kind of an unprecedented time,” Geick said. “But that’s the way things need to go.”

The YEU is preparing a multi-media campaign called TimeOutYukon that will “endeavour to unite all Yukon employers and workers unionized or not to find creative solutions to combat the financial and emotional stress that the pandemic has imposed.”

Comments (19)

Up 3 Down 0

drum on Jan 16, 2021 at 4:38 pm

The union officials (Steve and his cronies) keep getting paid every two weeks no matter what happens.

Up 6 Down 1

Juniper Jackson on Jan 15, 2021 at 2:15 pm

Sigmund: "Evil" is a pretty strong word. I equate it with.. Mugabee, Charles Ng, those kind of atrocities. I am not sure what you are implying. Do you think this government is 'evil'? Personally, I think of them as sneaky, underhanded, some on the stupid side, and I can certainly not like an ideology without thinking of it as evil. Can I ask what you are driving at? Thanks.

Up 4 Down 0

Anie on Jan 15, 2021 at 1:00 pm

Ah Patti Eyre, pot, kettle, black.

Up 2 Down 14

Sigmund on Jan 14, 2021 at 6:49 am

Juniper, just so you know. "Evil is where evil thinks!"

Up 19 Down 3

Juniper Jackson on Jan 13, 2021 at 4:34 pm

Patti: Yeah..I seem to be pretty negative. I can't stand this government (or any of them really). But.. I thought liking Kate White was positive. I said something positive about.. oh..wait..no I didn't.. OH! I love the staff and facilities at Whistle Bend.. AND I really appreciate people that take the time to post.. regardless of what I think, everyone gets an opinion. You too. It shows that people care. So many people read the Star..so few post their thoughts/opinions.

If this is your real name. Please pick up another one. When I was using my real name people called me, threatened me and my kids, stopped me on the street. People are pretty edgy today. And some, just plain nuts. Protect yourself. Happy New Year.

Up 10 Down 19

Patti Eyre on Jan 13, 2021 at 11:32 am

Oh Juniper I yearn for the day when you have something positive to say.

Up 23 Down 5

Juniper Jackson on Jan 12, 2021 at 10:30 pm

This government, the enemy within.. I watch them like a hawk, but they are so underhanded, it's hard to get wind of anything before its passed.. (i.e. increasing their borrowing power another $800,000. No one knew about it until it was a done deal). Since we have to have a Union representation, I'd like it if they would watch dog the government, what ever government is in power.. I have been waiting for this government to screw us ALL with that poly clinic horse**it they were recommending. I can't find out what they are doing with that..I hope they buried it, it's SOOO bad an idea. But, I rather think they are doing something really sneaky, slimy, and underhanded.. Steve.. get the Union on THAT one will ya?

Up 42 Down 5

Dave on Jan 12, 2021 at 3:33 pm

The only unions left in town are over paid in skilled city employees and Yukon governments.
Honestly no one cares.

Up 35 Down 1

Nathan Living on Jan 12, 2021 at 3:15 pm

They are suffering as are a lot of people but the upside is they have jobs and can reset more quickly than many who are more unfortunate.

Up 11 Down 20

BnR on Jan 12, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Max Mack wrote: "...governments have become totalitarian, dictatorial fascists."
Captain Hyperbole has been promoted to Vice Admiral.
Good lord, it's like a game; which commenter can out-conspiracy the other.

Up 32 Down 10

Max Mack on Jan 12, 2021 at 10:43 am

Well, Mr. Geick, most workers are suffering because of the draconian restrictions, lockdowns and "mandates" imposed by governments almost everywhere on employers and workers alike.

But, nary a word from Mr. Geick about that how governments have become totalitarian, dictatorial fascists.
Nope - it's all the fault of those bad employers. I suppose employers should just give out free stuff. After all, it's a "pandemic".

Up 33 Down 7

Moose on Jan 11, 2021 at 8:35 pm

Shouldn't he be upfront with people that when they pay union dues, they are actually funding the NDP Party? It's a blurred line as to where the NDP ends and the YEU begins.

Up 19 Down 4

Yukon’s Executive Utopia on Jan 11, 2021 at 6:04 pm

Nice... The YEU is so fickle in its representations... One for the money, two for the show, but only if I can hear my voice on the radiooooo.... If only there was a better way to goooo.... Ohhhh...

Up 17 Down 5

Sheepchaser on Jan 11, 2021 at 4:41 pm

If the hospital employees are calling for improved facilities and more relief, we should listen. That’s a winning investment at this particular cross-section of opportunity and risk. Assuming it’s well managed. Going to need to be done anyways given the climbing population and all the postponed treatments of other ailments. Smart play to build a reserve into the health system now.

You build an arc before the flood, I think?

Up 26 Down 10

JC on Jan 11, 2021 at 4:16 pm

A lot of people are suffering from this hoax. So, suck it up comrade.

Up 77 Down 12

BnR on Jan 11, 2021 at 3:14 pm

"The president of the Yukon Employees’ Union (YEU) says he fears conditions for many workers have deteriorated during the course of the pandemic."
Working from home is a bitch.

Up 77 Down 11

comen sense on Jan 11, 2021 at 2:26 pm

Suck it up Geick we are all in a hard time right now. If all employers had to follow your costly recommendations many companies would go under especially now. Your spoon is really getting worn out in your goulash pot of conditions for employees

Up 71 Down 12

My Opinion on Jan 11, 2021 at 2:10 pm

Geick should be glad some people are still working, many are not. Out of Touch Elite.

Up 41 Down 17

Matthew on Jan 11, 2021 at 2:10 pm

The YEU is preparing a multi-media campaign called TimeOutYukon that will “endeavour to unite all Yukon employers and workers unionized or not to find creative solutions to combat the financial and emotional stress that the pandemic has imposed.”
That's easy, let life go back to normal! Problem solved. If you're scared of covid wear a mask, face shield, and gloves. Heck might as well walk around in a Hazmat suit as that's the ONLY way to stop this virus if you think like WHO anyways..

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