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Yukon Employees’ Union 2285-2nd Ave. Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 1C9

Yukon Employees’ Union June 2018


YEU Goes National! spoken with genuine conviction. Their carefully considered arguments served more than once to sway a vote, and resulted in several standing ovations. Not bad for a contingent of eleven workers from the Yukon. Our Yukon caucus was formed by YEU President Steve Geick, Vice Presidents Tony Thomas and Paul Rarely does such a small group of deleJohnston, Roberta Wurtak, Charlene Smith, Chase gates have such a profound impact. The YEU memBlodgett, Teresa Acheson, Stephanie Coulthard, bers selected to attend the Public Service Alliance of Derrick Andersen, Lisa Keenan and Derek Yap. Canada’s 2018 National Convention did an outstanding job of ensuring the voices of northern members Delegates to the PSAC National Convention were were heard, loud and clear. elected at the YEU Triennial Convention in 2018. Chosen to represent the concerns and issues of our Time and again, these individuals stood up at micro- members, and to speak on our behalf on the national phones and addressed hundreds of delegates in the stage, they know they are in for a lot of work. You massive convention centre. When our delegates took can be confident that they fulfilled the duty of reprethe floor to speak for or against resolutions under sentation with dignity and that the presence of the discussion, their words were well chosen, and North was felt throughout the 2018 Convention.

24 Hours of Gaylight Yukon Pride 2018 - Schedule Friday June 22: Rights Night, 7pm at the Old Firehall. “Gay in the North” CBC documentary, 1992. Old Firehall ‐ All ages, FREE event Saturday June 23: PARADE! Meet @ 12:30, Main Street & 6th to Shipyards Park Pride Picnic 2pm ‐ Kids’ Activities Pride Dance 8pm Groove to Soul Migration at the Jarvis Street Saloon Tix $10 Sunday June 24 ‐ Pride Paddle on the Yukon River ‐ Rotary Park to the Takhini Bridge $15/per person. Register at Up North in Advance (discount offered for rentals).

Whose Side Are We On? When two parties are involved in a workplace conflict, and both come to the union for support and representation, how do we ensure we treat them both fairly? The union has a duty to fairly represent all members, and to look at each individual case on its own merits. When a YEU Labour Relations Advisor is actively representing one member, and another member involved in the issue requires representation, another YEU Advisor will take on the case. We do not discuss the specific of cases in our briefings as a team, always recognizing our need to remain fair, objective and focused in our representation work. How do we manage this in serious harassment situations? How about in cases where one person has acted in the role of whistleblower? Very serious harassment situations can be complex, and may even involve law enforcement or external investigators. In YG, harassment issues are managed through the Respectful Workplace Office and one or more Advisors are often part of the case management team. Again, we keep our focus on the member we are representing while recognizing that we may have opposing perspectives on some of the points in the case. This is not to say we oppose each other’s work, but we rely on the information from our members and our job is to represent their interests and rights. The same applies whether one or both members blew the whistle, or if the employer directed both members to work with RWO to resolve a workplace conflict. Union members from other employers without a formal harassment prevention branch do have internal processes, agreed to by the employer and the Union, and we will ensure the employer follows their process, and is held accountable when they don’t.

www.yeu.ca contact@yeu.ca 867-667-2331 1-888-YEU-2331 Page 2

How do we help members feel safe in this kind of situation? We do our best to assure every member that what they disclose to us is confidential, and we will only share their concerns as needed, and only with their full and informed consent. If a member doesn’t want us to share any info, then there will be limits to what they can expect in terms of a resolution as workplace conflict is always a multi-party situation. We also have to be honest about the limits to our ability to ensure their privacy when other parties such as RWO and HR are involved. We counsel members on what to do if they fear workplace reprisal, and we are prepared to hold the employer accountable if there are any behaviors that even appear retaliatory in nature. We assure members that our file management system allows each Advisor to keep their file confidential, with all information stored in a locked cabinet in the Advisor’s office and password protected efiles on our own computer drives. We also have a very high level of trust across our team and communicate this to our members through our actions and words. What if a member doesn’t want to file a grievance, but wants the situation improved? The grievance process is our members’ way of speaking out against unjust or unfair treatment in the workplace. Of course it’s only one option; the staff at YEU can recommend alternative dispute resolution, if another path to reconciliation is likely to serve better under the circumstances. Members from non YG Bargaining Units can file grievances in conflict situations, while YG members are directed to the RWO for resolution. As Labour Relations Advisors, we help members resolve

conflict and address harassment or bullying in the workplace. We stay apprised of current case law and research in the area and most importantly, we understand the need for each member involved to be fairly represented, and to feel safe and respected throughout the process. YEU NEWS June 2018


From the President’s Desk Steve Geick



Over the past six months we have waged significant battles with our largest employer, the Yukon Government. I would like to say that’s where the battles begin and end, but that has not been the case.

Discouraged and fearful of reprisal from management, good people remain silent or speak only anonymously. Managers who have spoken up against a corrupted system have been suspended, even fired.

In early April, both City of Whitehorse Locals were poised on the knife edge of a city-wide general strike. At the final moment, the workers prevailed and an agreement was reached. We were successful thanks to the dedication of the members. They showed up! They filled meeting halls for Bargaining Update sessions, for strike votes and for strike training. Transit Local Y022 members stood shoulder to shoulder in work to rule actions which earned the support and respect of the community.

The union has expressed concern for years over the deparment’s unwillingness to provide adequate training and oversight, the chronic understaffing and the dangers of placing workers alone in high risk environments. The only good news in this story is that finally, someone is shining a light into the dusty corners of this department’s operations. It suffers under the scrutiny.

hese are challenging days for many members he fiasco taking place in Yukon Government’s of Yukon Employees’ Union. Strong leadership Department of Health and Social Services, and rock solid support from across our memspecifically in the area of Youth Justice is bership has been, and will continue to be crucial in shameful. Despite assurances of amnesty from the protecting member rights and holding our employers highest levels, workers do not trust the disclosure to account. process for whistle blowers.

Children in care deserve a home where workers and residents are fully supported. Unfortunately the sysLocals Y022 and Y023 were united and refused to tem has been manipulated by some in leadership entertain two-tiered bargaining or the employer’s positions and we are gravely concerned that hard concession demands. The result was a strong collec- working, conscientious people will be sacrificed tive agreement with no concessions. That is the while those truly responsible for a dysfunctional power of union members when they unite and mobi- department will go unchallenged. lize. As the President of YEU, I am working to make We are presently in conciliation with Many Rivers, Air damned sure that those in Government who are at North, and Yukon Hospital Corporation. Yukon fault are held accountable. We may need to raise our Energy Corporation is in arbitration. That kind of voices and demand action in order to win, but we will spring-loaded bargaining creates a lot of tension to win. There can be no backing down from this fight for the workplace and workers’ lives. It’s very difficult to the rights of our workers, and for the rights of our stand against an employer when their office is only territory’s children in care. metres away. These smaller locals need all the support we can muster from the entire membership to reach successful collective agreements. Stay tuned to our social media and website for calls to action Steve Geick, President Yukon Employees’ Union should these negotiations falter. sgeick@yeu.ca Page 3

In Support of A Living Wage


ukoners who rely on minimum wage earn $11.51 per hour. And that’s before any tax comes off the top. Yukon workers deserve better than minimum wage - they need a living wage. Most minimum wage discussions tend to go down the path of cost, instead of decency. Let’s take a quick look at the cost side so we can better understand the argument for decency. Let’s envision a worker putting in 60 hours a week at two different minimum wage employers (with no overtime). At the current minimum wage, and after taxes, their take home is just under $33,000 a year. Let that sink in for a moment. Given the recent rent survey completed by Yukon Bureau of Statistics, let’s assume our worker is single and pays the average rent for all types of rental units, $1,184.00 per month. Over a year, that total comes to $14,208.00. Nearly half of our worker’s income is gone in rent. I could go on, but I imagine folks can predict where this math leads. Come year-end, a worker with one full-time and one half-time job has been able to little more than meet their survival costs.

The decent alternative to the minimum wage is a LIVING WAGE. In Yukon, a living wage is calculated as $18.26 per hour a substantial jump from the $11.51/hr minimum wage. This figure takes into account the true cost of living in the north, factoring in the high rents, higher cost of living and realities of the northern economy. The minimum wage was introduced in 1975 to prevent the exploitation of women and youth in the

workplace. Over time and in practice, minimum wage has served to do the opposite. Most minimum wage positions are now occupied by adults, especially people of colour and new Canadians. Minimum wage earners often support families, working two or more jobs to do so. The living wage is designed to lift individuals and families out of poverty and into a place of greater economic security. Times have changed since 1975. Business interests have formed powerful lobby groups which are often given the same or greater rights as people. What has been lost along the way is the understanding that businesses exist to meet the needs of the people. If people can’t afford the costs of goods or services, then businesses will starve and die. Making decisions on how much people should earn based on the cost to business, is indecent. Providing workers with a decent income will result in greater financial freedom, and increased spending on goods and services. People who aren’t on the knife’s edge of poverty have a much better quality of life, lowering costs for our health care system. The benefits to our communities would be many, and the businesses paying higher wages would benefit from a stronger economy - the positive effects of increased wages have consistently proven to outweigh the costs. It’s time for Yukon government to make the decent choice, and support low-wage earning Yukoners. Justin Lemphers, President Yukon Federation of Labour

A Big WIN for Home Support Workers! Yukon Employee’s Union recently filed a policy grievance with the Government of Yukon over their refusal to pay Home Support Workers appropriately under Article 15.03 of their Collective Agreement. The Employer felt that, as Home Support Workers are covered under Article 15.28 of the Collective Agreement, they were exempt from paying workers a negotiated premium when schedules were modified with less than 7 working days’ notice. This was a significant problem for our Home Support Workers. All the jobs listed under Article 15.28 require flexibility in scheduling and as a result of operational requirements, affected members frequently have their schedules changed with limited notice. The Employer was confident in the belief that no additional compensation was required when schedules were changed without adequate notice. This issue of improper compensation had to be addressed, and a policy grievance was the best resolution mechanism. The Union understands that for the employer, flexible scheduling of Home Support Workers is required. However, if the Employer wishes to exercise that flexibility, they must also respect the rights of our members to be compensated according to their contract. We’re pleased to say that in the end, the Union’s interpretation of the Collective Agreement carried the day. On May 25th, 2018, Acting Public Service Commissioner, Thomas Ullyett upheld the Union’s grievance, ruling that Article 15.03 applied to workers scheduled under Article 15.28. In future, it is the Union’s expectation that workers scheduled under 15.28 will be compensated according to Article 15.03 if their schedule is changed with less than 7 working days’ notice. 15.03 Normal Work Schedule (1) A regular employee's working schedule will not be altered unless he/she has been given a minimum of seven (7) working days advance notice of the alteration. Where the Employer fails to give a regular employee seven (7) working days advance notice of an alteration in his/her normal work schedule, the Employer shall pay the employee at the rate of time and one-half (1½T) for all regular hours worked on the first day or shift worked following receipt of the notice of the change... This is a big win for our members and upholds rights that have been collectively bargained. The gain comes as the result of hard work from everyone. Thanks must go to the members who first raised the issue, to our shop steward network who supported the members, and to the Labour Relations Advisors at the Union Hall who worked on the case. This shared success illustrates what can happen when we all stand together in solidarity.

Who is at the Bargaining Table? Air North Local Y044: Bargaining Dates September 10 to 12 � Yukon Hospital Corporation Local Y025: � Bargaining Dates June 26-28 Teegatha‘Oh Zheh Local Y040: August 21-23 Yukon Arts Centre Local Y021: Bargaining Dates August 28-30 Town of Watson Lake Local Y029: September 13 All Members’ Meeting September 17-19 Bargaining Government of Yukon Local Y010, Y017, Y024, Y023, Y035,Y043 September 6, 7 Bargaining Input Conference and Selection of Bargaining Teams Many Rivers Local Y031 Conciliation August 15-17

Weed & Work

Marijuana will be legalized this year. What does this mean for you and your workplace? Medical marijuana has been legal for many years – this will not change. If your doctor has prescribed marijuana for a medical condition, your employer’s obligation is unchanged. They are required to provide accommodation to the point of undue hardship. What that means is different for every person and every job, as of course, you must be safe to perform your duties. For those people who plan to use marijuana recreationally, things are less clear. As yet, there is no approved way to test for impairment. So while there are many questions with few answers, there are some things that will not change, despite the new legislation. You have an obligation to attend work in a fit state to perform your job. Once marijuana is legal, that same expectation will apply. Just like you can’t be drunk at work, you shouldn’t be high at work. Marijuana should be treated in the same way we treat other impairing substances – if you think it affects your ability to perform your job safely, you should avoid using it when it will affect your work. This is to keep you and your co-workers safe. Yukon Employees’ Union believes that our members should have the freedom to use marijuana in their off time when the effects won’t impact your work. We will continue the fight to protect your rights.

Discounted Gas Prices? Yes Please! The Heat Yukon and Fuel Yukon Benefit for Members of the Yukon Employees’ Union and the Public Service Alliance of Canada KEEPS GETTING BETTER!! You’ll SAVE 5 CENTS per litre when you show your Fuel Yukon Card at their new gas station by Yukon Yamaha on the Alaska Highway, as well as the two 24 hour card lock stations ‐ one by the Airport Chalet, the other at Jake’s Corner. Once the gas station in Dawson opens, you’ll save 5 cents/litre there too! How? Well, call Buddie at 867‐633‐3322 to get your card set up and to learn the details. No commitment required. Don’t forget ‐ it’s ROAD TRIP season!

Shop Steward Round Table June 20, 2018 What is a Union?

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YEU NEWS June 2018

Yukon Employees’ Union Education Bursaries

Now Accepting Applications The Yukon Employees’ Union proudly offers eigh t annual Bursary Awards to support the educational goal s of our members and their dependents. If you or a member of your family is registered to attend full-time post-secondary school in the 2018/201 9 academic year, we encourage you to apply.

8 Bursary Awards, $1000 each Visit www.yeu.ca/bursaries to learn more. Submission deadline is Sept. 30, 2018 www.yeu.ca/bursaries contact@yeu.ca 867-667-2331 1-888-YEU-2331



Shop Steward Round Table: 3rd Wed, 9am - noon, YEU YEU Monthly Exec Meeting: 2nd Thurs., 5:15 - 7pm, YEU

Susan Koser, Labour Relations Advisor; skoser@yeu.ca

Y010 Monthly Meeting: 2nd Tues., 5:30-7:30 p.m., YEU Hall

David Anderson, Labour Relations Advisor; danderson@yeu.ca

Y017 Monthly Meeting: 4th Thursday, 7:00 p.m., YEU Hall

Jessica Kish, Labour Relations Advisor; jkish@yeu.ca

Get Involved.

Dan Robinson, Labour Relations Advisor; drobinson@yeu.ca

Beckie Huston, A/Labour Relations Officer; bhuston@yeu.ca Tammy Olsen, Financial Officer; tolsen@yeu.ca

Attend a

Roseanne Elias, A/Intake Oficer relias@yeu.ca

Union Meeting!

Deborah Turner-Davis, Communications; dturner-davis@yeu.ca

Shannon Pack, A/Membership Svcs. Assistant; spack@yeu.ca Christie Harper, Executive Director; charper@yeu.ca

Yukon Employees’ Union Office, 2285 2nd Avenue Whitehorse YT Y1A 1C9 PH: 867-667-2331 Fax: 867-667-6521 Toll Free: 1-888-YEU-2331 Email contact@yeu.ca Visit www.yeu.ca, follow us on Facebook & Twitter & visit our blog; www.theunionbillboard.com Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.

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YEU NEWS June 2018

Profile for YEU/PSAC

Yukon Employees' Union Newsletter - June 2018  

YEU Goes National, 24 Hours of Gaylight, In Defense of a Living Wage, Whose Side Are We On?, From the President's Desk, A Win for Home Suppo...

Yukon Employees' Union Newsletter - June 2018  

YEU Goes National, 24 Hours of Gaylight, In Defense of a Living Wage, Whose Side Are We On?, From the President's Desk, A Win for Home Suppo...

Profile for yeupsac