Whitehorse Daily Star

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Sandy Silver and Steve Geick

YG strike threat averted as contract is ratified

Yukon government employees will receive wage increases of 10.5 per cent over three years in the new collective agreement they have ratified.

By Whitehorse Star on June 7, 2023

Yukon government employees will receive wage increases of 10.5 per cent over three years in the new collective agreement they have ratified.

The ratification, announced Tuesday, will cost an additional $50 million, the government said.

Highlights of the new agreement include:

• an increase in acting pay from five per cent to 10 per cent;

• an increase in the auxiliary benefit allowance from $2 to $4;

• an increase in the shift premium from $2.25 to $3;

• an increase in the retention allowance for social workers;

• a new retention allowance for corrections officers I & II – $3,000

• a new retention allowance for Student Support Services – $1,000;

• new nurse pay grids;

• a new midwives pay grid;

• a new retention allowance for a primary care paramedic ($3,000) and critical care paramedic ($6,000); and

• a new retention allowance for a primary health care nurse ($8,000) and primary health care nurse in charge ($18,000).

The wage increase of 10.5 per cent over three years is “in line with the recently negotiated agreement for federal public servants,” the government said.

“This was a particularly long round of collective bargaining, as there were some significant factors, most notably the increased inflation rate and availability of the parties, that influenced negotiations.”

The government has 120 days following ratification by the union membership to implement the new collective agreement, which covers approximately 3,515 employees, according to the government.

Once in place, the new agreement, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2022, will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2024.

“I believe this agreement is fair and balanced overall, as it recognizes the value of our employees and the services they provide to all Yukoners, while upholding our fiscal responsibility as a government when it comes to managing public funds,” said Sandy Silver, the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission.

Public Service Commissioner Sherri Young said she wants to thank the negotiating teams who have worked so hard to get us to an agreement.

“Negotiations are not always easy, and they require hard work and a relationship of trust and mutual understanding that must be built and rebuilt.”

The Yukon Employees’ Union (YEU) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada represent the bargaining unit involved.

“Extraordinary attendance was observed at contract ratification meetings held across the Yukon last week,” they said Tuesday.

“After today’s ballot count, we can say that Yukon Government workers have voted overwhelmingly to accept the tentative deal, ratifying their new contract.”

The vote breakdown was not released.

YEU president Steve Geick congratulated the union’s bargaining team “for their steadfast work, and the membership for their solidarity and willingness to go through the ropes for the contract they deserve.

“This was a marathon, but for over 18 months our team went toe-to-toe with management on behalf of their colleagues,” he said.

“I am very proud of the work this team did, and thankful that the members were ready to fight to support a good deal.

“We have a deal but the work isn’t over; the employer has shown us what they intend to do next round and we’ll be ready – you can count on it,” Geick added.

Josée-Anne Spirito, the regional executive vice-president for PSAC North, said “I want to congratulate and thank the bargaining team for their hard work and determination in getting a fair deal for our members, and standing up to concessions.

“I also want to applaud the membership for standing strong with their bargaining team for the last two years.

“Today, your efforts ensure that workers get what they deserve,” Spirito added.

The government said, “The Government of Yukon values the work of the Yukon public service, and is pleased to announce a new collective agreement in place with the Yukon Employees’ Union.”

It had been announced May 26 that both the union and the government had accepted the unanimous, non-binding recommendations of a Conciliation Board’s executive panel following meetings held over the Victoria Day weekend.

The workers and the government had reached a negotiations impasse last Jan. 12.

The Conciliation Board met for the first time in late April, but talks ended when the government left the table on April 29, the YEU said.

The union had been poised to take a strike vote in a Yukon-wide series of meetings this month.

Those meetings transformed into a chance to offer members the opportunity to review the tentative deal, ask questions, and vote to ratify or reject.

“These negotiations were difficult, and our members had a lot at stake,” Geick said at the time.

“Our bargaining team was strong, and never lost sight of our members’ priorities. This tentative agreement is a result of member solidarity and determination.”

Comments (7)

Up 6 Down 9

Government Employee on Jun 13, 2023 at 9:37 am

Unions are paid to get the best deal possible for the employee. I pay an estimated $1250/year for union dues, and so they better work hard.

Up 8 Down 23

Nathan Living on Jun 9, 2023 at 5:21 pm

I have incredible respect for the GY workers that I know. They are highly educated and very professional and they deserve good pay and benefits.

As long as the Federal government provides generous transfer payments the public service can be supported at current levels.

Up 7 Down 3

Yukoner on Jun 9, 2023 at 1:16 pm

I'd rather see wage increases go to Yukoners but ones that probably deserve it more than the majority of YG employees who are already over paid and have a pension.

The sick program they implemented is a joke, not even close to what their own workers get.

@Dog Man
No, what didn't they give into? Ya the PSU threatened strike as they do ever single time they negotiate. Maybe let them go out and strike for a while and see who is actually missed, its probably a lot less than you would think. And maybe the workers would actually be more appreciative of a good paying job with a pension. And if they don't like it go find a private sector job and then compare.

Up 10 Down 4

John on Jun 9, 2023 at 11:29 am

I am not a fan of unions. While many decades ago they served a useful purpose, today it is about greed. The worse kind are unions that prey on the taxpayer to fund employee benefits and wages. Wages should be commiserate with non-public wages. In YTG the lowest paid gets a minimum of $50K a year salary and the top in the grid gets as much as $125k there is something wrong. No wonder there is a stampede from outside to get a plush job with the government.

There needs to be a reality check - but alas no one has the where-with-all to do such a thing - why - votes!!!

Up 44 Down 9

Yukong on Jun 8, 2023 at 10:19 am

Well Yukoner, I'd rather see the money go to wage increases for Yukon workers rather than send the liberal party to Vancouver to see a hockey game.

Up 23 Down 11

Dog Man on Jun 8, 2023 at 9:54 am


Not sure about that. The PSU threatened strike, which would shut down the government and slow or completely stop services for the public. I think the government held out as long as they could, without this leading to a full strike.

They also take lead from the Federal government, whose union members just went on strike and won. This is true regardless of political leanings. Provinces/Territories will follow the Fed's lead.

Up 25 Down 31

Yukoner on Jun 7, 2023 at 4:49 pm

Ranj and Sandy just gave into everything. Didn't every try to stand up for the public tax dollars that fuel this.

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