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Steve Geick

YEU expects ‘contentious’ round of bargaining

It looks as if the relationship between the Yukon Employees’ Union (YEU) and the territorial government is still fractious.

By Whitehorse Star on January 10, 2022

It looks as if the relationship between the Yukon Employees’ Union (YEU) and the territorial government is still fractious.

The union and the government are already at loggerheads over the vaccine mandate imposed by the government back in November.

Now, the two sides have started bargaining negotiations for a new collective agreement covering some 6,000 employees.

Steve Geick, the president of the YEU, provided an update in a recent newsletter to members.

Contacted by the Star last Wednesday, Geick said he didn’t really have anything further to add on the situation.

“We’re scheduled back at the table Jan. 31st-Feb. 4th. Might have something then,” he wrote in an email.

In the newsletter, he wrote to the YEU membership, “We have started bargaining with the Yukon government and it’s already clear that this will be one of the most contentious rounds of bargaining we have undertaken.

“We expect the employer will again attempt to make changes to severance entitlements as they have the last two rounds of negotiations. The membership was absolutely clear three years ago that they will not stand for any changes that will impact their ability to retire with dignity, and are not willing to allow the creation of a two-tiered work force of those who have and those who don’t,” he wrote.

“When we polled the membership during the last round of negotiations, a surprising majority of members told us that any attempt to claw back severance entitlements would be a strike issue.”

Geick went on to write, “The employer rationale for suggesting this last round was simply that no one else, including YG managers, still had severance. That rationale is like an angry child stomping their feet and saying, ‘if I can’t have it, no one can!’”

He continued to blast the government for its overall handling of the situation.

“This self-proclaimed Top 100 Employer can neither retain nor recruit the front-line workers needed to protect Yukoners during this global pandemic and state of emergency,” Geick wrote.

“It is very telling that they would even consider removing such an important incentive during this time of crisis.

“Please do not get me wrong; YG’s inability to recruit and retain quality people is not new, nor is it solely a result of the present situation.

The pandemic has made everything more difficult, but this situation is not new by any stretch of the imagination.

“Their willingness to ignore or pay lip service to malignant organizational issues, including systemic racism, harassment and bullying, has made way for what we are now seeing.

“The reluctance to offer competitive wages and the chronic lack of transparency has been fostered and rewarded by the politicians who spend an inordinate amount of time praising themselves and blaming everyone else for their inability to govern.”

John Streicker, the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission, told the Star last Thursday he was not able to offer much of a comment on the situation.

As minister, he’s not directly involved in the bargaining, but is receiving regular updates on the progress of the negotiations.

“I don’t want to say anything that might impact on those discussions,” Streicker said.

Comments (17)

Up 4 Down 1

Harvey on Jan 14, 2022 at 3:48 pm

So who woke-up McLeod from Watson Lake? She's a little bit early with her annual question.

Up 5 Down 3

drum on Jan 12, 2022 at 9:00 pm

Unrelated to Bargaining.
Ask Jim Dillabough who bought the hay that his now starving horses are eating? It was not him - it was supplied by the Government (taxpayers) or donations by concerned citizens.

Up 8 Down 4

Anie on Jan 12, 2022 at 3:19 pm

According to some comments, the union, the government, and even the courts have refused to acknowledge that Covid policies and restrictions violate the charter. Is it possible that the union, the government and the courts are correct? No, because armchair legal experts, fresh from their YouTube research, certainly know more about the charter than the courts know.

Up 17 Down 3

YEU FarmVille! on Jan 12, 2022 at 9:17 am

Mr. Geick - I fully agree that YG is a toxic stew bubbling and boiling over while the YEU turns up the heat by failing to represent its members. The YEU tells you to go to the RWO and then leaves you hanging… To represent yourself against the employer abdicating its responsibility, legal responsibility, to represent its membership.

YG knows this and takes advantage of this. It then starts the selective targeting process and recruits other members of the unit to scapegoat their unliked brothers and sisters. This is why you get the mobbing and bullying behaviour.

Up 14 Down 5

Dismayed on Jan 11, 2022 at 7:00 pm

Dear Max Mack - Finally a post of yours that I can side with. However, the abdication of Human Rights, Charter violations, by the YEU, the YHRC, and the government extends beyond the current mandates… There is a pathology within the government that has taken deep root… The infection is septic.

Up 11 Down 8

unReal on Jan 11, 2022 at 11:34 am

Yah, a raise in pay can be accommodated by having every second Friday off.
By golly, that is a 7% raise!!!

Remember when the YPCs did that? It worked.

Up 37 Down 32

Adam Morrison on Jan 11, 2022 at 9:46 am

Steve, what about those of us on Lwop??? I WANT TO GO BACK TO MY JOB, there evidence and data now show that there is no correlation or scientific reason for this discrimination against unvaccinated Canadians. Reverse the mandate now!

Up 32 Down 9

Groucho d'North on Jan 11, 2022 at 7:48 am

So did the union poll the brotherhood to hear what the employees they work for wanted in this next contract? Or is it just the views and opinions of the union leadership that count?

Up 16 Down 10

North on Jan 11, 2022 at 7:16 am

@Jack, so asking to keep something they already have and to not lose it is a "unrealistic demand" ?? Seems like some are really out of touch with reality.

Up 8 Down 17

Oliver on Jan 10, 2022 at 10:52 pm

Putting it bit lightly the lack of getting and retaining front line workers. Watson Lake needs a long term care home in the next 10 years or less. Improving clinic staffing for the communities.

Will any of this happen? No because 90% of anything that comes to the territory goes to Whitehorse. The communities shouldn't be existing with a city state.

Up 27 Down 3

Ear Marx on Jan 10, 2022 at 9:10 pm

Contentious round of bargaining… LOL. What bargaining power do the Union and the membership have right now? None! They have shown that the government can run things without them… Keep up that ‘can do’ spirit though - It’s working to keep that false consciousness humming away nicely…

Up 30 Down 21

Max Mack on Jan 10, 2022 at 9:04 pm

A contentious round of bargaining would involve standing firm for members' rights to bodily autonomy and privacy of health information.
Instead, Geick and crew rolled over for the angry majority that want to force the vaxx on the minority.

Alas, the YEU is not alone in their abandonment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and long-standing medical ethics. So-called Human Rights Commissions and the Courts themselves have completely side-stepped their responsibility to protect individuals from government tyranny and mob justice.

Shameful, egregious conduct.

Up 27 Down 25

bonanzajoe on Jan 10, 2022 at 7:58 pm

It's time someone told comrade Geick enough is enough. Government workers are making too much money and have way to many benefits. And I as a senior, am getting tired of the rise in food prices every time the government gets a raise. Time to let the public service workers catch up.

Up 27 Down 24

Still fed up ! on Jan 10, 2022 at 5:43 pm

The most important issue here for YEU should be to keep pushing.....hard....to do something about the ridiculous mandate on YG employees. I personally know many that are suffering and the YG just won't comment when confronted on this important issue! A failing government!

Up 29 Down 5

D. Stephen Robertson on Jan 10, 2022 at 5:04 pm

The only feasible way forward is contribution-based pensions in order to have any money for any programs in the future. Where are Geick, Lemphers, et al, regarding the LWOP issue? I guess that’s not as important as a wage increase. Shame.

Up 68 Down 31

BnR on Jan 10, 2022 at 3:20 pm

5% wage rollback right across the board. Bring the Yukon Entitled Unions wages back into line with reality.
As if....

Up 69 Down 14

Jack on Jan 10, 2022 at 3:02 pm

So when is this ever not contentious? YEU makes unrealistic demands and the people's government says no. Same story each time.

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