Yukon Employees' Union November 2015 Newsletter

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


Breaking new trail for workers' rights & social justice. Nov. 2015

Yukon Employees’ Union

It’s been 50 years of YEU! Please join us to celebrate our 50th Birthday in true Yukon style!

Live music by Paul Bergman & Friends Appetizers by Antoinette’s

Cash Bar

Brother Blair Andre wins Council Seat, Village of Mayo Long time YEU activist & Executive member Blair Andre was successful in his bid to join the Mayo’s Village Council. Blair brings his work ethic and level head to the table and we want to send him our sincere congratulations!

We actually wish to congratulate so many Yukon Employees’ Union members for their decisions to run for office in the recent campaign season. We have a record number of YEU members holding office as a result. In the Village of Mayo, Mayor Scott Bolton and Council members Joann Aird, Trevor Ellis AND Blair Andre are members of Local Y034, Mayo; Heart of the Yukon. That’s the mayor and 3 of the 4 councillors. Pretty good ratio... In Whitehorse, re-elected City Councillor Jocelyn Curteanu is an active PSAC  member, busy on a couple of PSAC Regional Committees. We asked Blair if his union activism helped prepare him for his new role in town government and he replied with an emphatic yes. Union activists learn everything from how to run meetings and parliamentary procedure to negotiation and contract analysis. Those are good qualities on a Village Council. His desire to get involved at the community level was a natural evolution. He says he has been

told more than once that if you want ot have a voice, you’d better get involved. He shares returning Mayor Scott Bolton and the previous council’s positive and cooperative vision for the Village of Mayo.

Blair’s personal goals during his term include the continued improvement of water & sewer infrastructure and improved standards for roads and drainage. There are several infrastructure programs underway that he looks forward to moving forward as well. Blair believes the most important goal is to maintain positive working relationships with the First Nation of NaCho Nyak Dun, Yukon and Federal governments and the people of Mayo.


We asked Blair for a bit of advice to anyone considering tossing their hat into the union activism or political ring. His advice is sound, as have come to expect from Blair.

“Be prepared to give up a little time & make sure to do your homework. At the end of the day, public service can be very fulfilling especially when a vision is completed.”

Blair has never been one to stand down from a challenge. We think the Village of Mayo will be well served by Blair and the new Village Council. He tells us his union service helped reinforce the importance of listening to people and finding common ground to solve problems. We once again extend our congratulations not only to Blair and the Mayo council but to all Yukoners who let their names stand as candidates and those who helped campaign. We appreciate your sacrifice of family time and giving up the comfort of armchair observer status!


Blair Andre has served on three consecutive YEU Executives and is chair of YEU Local Y034, Heart of the Yukon, Mayo

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“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” William James

YEU News Nov. 2015

Court Watch Yukon Seeks Safer Courtroom Experience for Women

“ Increased focus on victim safety; minimize re-victimization in the courts; more use of Victim Impact Statements; increased use of analysis of the dynamics of violence against women in trials and sentencing; victims should have access to legal advice and advocacy….” These are a few of the recommendations brought forward by Court Watch Yukon at their August 2015 public seminar, coordinated by the Women’s Coalition and funded by the Community Development Fund. The Court Watch program aims to improve women’s experience of the criminal justice system by providing oversight and practical recommendations. to the Yukon courts.

In June 2014, fully trained CWY volunteers began observing court proceedings in Whitehorse relating to violence against women, sexualized assault and spousal violence. Volunteers have taken note of court room environment, mutualizing language, respect and dignity shown to the victims, and dual charging. Dual charging occurs when RCMP are called to an incident of spousal violence and charges are laid against both parties. This has resulted in victims of spousal violence also being charged with an offence.

CWY was specifically interested in observing language used to minimize or mutualize violence in court. Mutualizing language “…implies that the victim is at least partly to blame and inevitably conceals the fact that violent behaviour is unilateral and solely responsible of the offender”.(1) For example ‘wife or spousal assault’ becomes ‘argument’ or ‘altercation’.

Minimizing language differs from mutualizing language in that it only conceals violence. A woman expressed to the court that she was “afraid in her home with the accused there making inappropriate comments.” Her comments were recorded as ‘she was annoyed to hear those comments’. Studies have shown a correlation between the use of minimizing and mutualizing language and lighter sentences. Observers note mutualizing language was used more often in the court room than minimizing language. The use of either to describe violence offers an inaccurate picture of the incident and the violence that occurred.

Observers noted that it often was difficult to hear in the court room and that there were inappropriate comments made by court workers, members of the legal community and support workers. There was disclosure of sensitive information that would affect confidentiality and inappropriate comments made about accused, victims, counsel and judges. Observers also noted staff on their cellphones, falling asleep, and rolling their eyes during proceedings.

Observers noted that in sexualized assault trials, consent, dynamics of violence against women and safety concerns were Page 3

brought up either by the Crown and/or Judges. This is an improvement since the last CWY program. However, in spousal assault cases dealt with outside of the Domestic Violence Treatment Option (DVTO), (meaning the accused has plead not guilty and has chosen to go trial), it was rare for the dynamics of violence against women to be brought forward.

Women interviewed by the YSWC Coordinator expressed that re-victimization/re-traumatization, negative experiences with the justice system and court room environment were barriers to their participation. If they had support, positive social responses and believed their safety concerns were respected they felt that their experiences would be more positive and they would engage more with the process.

Court Watch Yukon was revived by the Yukon Status of Women Council in April 2014, a 2002-2004 pilot program of the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre. Volunteers began observing court proceedings in Watson Lake and Dawson City in December 2014 and will continue to observe court in those communities until August 2016. We are looking for volunteers; the court circuits are once every six weeks. The revival was made possible by the generous support of the CDF, Crime Prevention & Victim Services Trust Fund, Department of Justice Canada Victims Fund, The Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council and the Yukon Law Foundation.

As of September 2015, CWY has been back in court observing proceedings and will continue doing so until August 2016. CWY would not be where it is today without the hard work and dedication of its volunteers. Our stakeholders - the Public Prosecutions Service of Canada, Crown Witness Coordinator, Aboriginal Court Workers, Victim Services, Offender Supervision Services, and various defence lawyers have been integral to training and answering questions of the volunteers. If you would like to volunteer or learn more, contact Reem Girgrah, Court Watch Yukon Volunteer Coordinator yukoncourtwatch@gmail.com or 867-667-4637 Follow at: yukonstatusofwomencouncil.blogspot.ca or follow Court Watch Yukon on Facebook Submitted by the Yukon Women’s Coalition

(1) Coates, L. & Wade, A. (2004). Telling it like it isn’t: obscuring perpetrator responsibility for vio-

“No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise.” Winston S. Churchill

YEU NEWS Nov. 2015

CLC Pacific Winter School in Harrison Hot Springs BC, Jan-Feb ‘16

For over 40 years the Canadian Labour Congress has offered labour training at Harrison Hot Springs for union activists of all stripes. CLC Pacific’s Winter School is an educational opportunity like no other. In fact, it’s North America’s largest labour school.

YEU Supports Young Women Exploring Trades & Technology Event

Each year YEU invites our members to apply for the chance to experience a week at Winter School. Immerse yourself in a unique union training experience and grow your skill set. There are many courses to choose from and all will help you in your career and your union activity. Winter school courses run Sunday through Friday.

We’ll be accepting applications in early November, once the Education Committee finalizes the 2016 approved course list. We’ll post the courses & application forms online as soon as they’re available.

Application deadline; Nov. 30th. Please visit yeu.ca or call 667-2331 early November.

YEU Vice-President Sue Christianson awards a lucky winner one of three iPod nanos and iTunes card prizes at the recent YWITT event. YEU has been a proud supporter of this event for many years. Sue says “It’s always gratifying to witness the excitement of empowered young women!

YG Pre-Bargaining Team Prepares to Meet Employer

After September’s successful bargaining conference, the elected preliminary bargaining team got down to business this past week. Your bargaining team comprised of Anton Berger, Amber Harder, Lisa Joinson, Justin Lemphers and Jessica Young. Executive Vice-President Sue Christianson met with the group in Whitehorse from October 20 to October 23rd.

All the top priority proposals were reviewed and discussed by the team. Proposals with monetary impact – for example wages & vacation leave will be forwarded to second Bargaining Committee, slated to begin their deliberations the end of November.

All other proposals reviewed and adopted the team will be exchanged with YG’s team the week of November 16th. Once the team tables the proposals, we will make those proposals public and accessible for all members who are interested in YG Pre-Bargaining Team members Lisa Joinson, Justin following along. Lemphers, Anton Berger, Amber Harder and Jessica Young with Receive regular bargaining updates; add your name to our PSAC negotiator Erna Post & YEU VP Sue Christianson. electronic email update list. Visit yeu.ca to sign up today. Page 4

“It seems the harder I work, the more luck I have.” Thomas Jefferson

YEU NEWS Nov. 2015

Open Letter to Mike Nixon, Minister of Health & Social Services As a nurse, I can't believe your response to issues raised by ourselves and the NDP concerning the Community Nursing branch. I'm amazed at your lack of understanding of the realities healthcare professionals face in our rural communities and I shake my head at your blasé attitude toward the health & welfare of rural Yukoners.

As Union President, I am now more worried than ever for the health of nurses in the communities who tell us they are struggling and suffering. Whether your recent comments were based on misinformation, naiveté, arrogance or indifference you've misrepresented and manipulated the truth. Let me take a few moments to point out where you’ve missed the mark. 1. Nurses in communities are leaving their jobs or choosing not to return to Yukon for new contracts. Your response that you’re “working with the YRNA on recruitment & retention” tells me you haven’t done your homework. Have you investigated why there is such a high rate of turnover? Your numbers were wrong as well; 2 nurses have chosen to retire and another 3 have simply given up…quit; not your stated 1 retiree and 1 resignation. Sure, turnover happens but the spike in resignations and retirements with more certain to come should have your alarm bells ringing. Community Nursing is in crisis. In my opinion, morale is the lowest it’s been since the service was devolved from the Federal Government. 2. Nurses worked alone in rural health centres for 182 days from March until the end of August. In one community, the health nurse worked alone for 52 days over the busy summer tourist season. Yukon is the only jurisdiction in Canada which allows a nurse (and a community) to be placed in that dangerous position. Working alone places nurses at greatly elevated risk of injury, violence and fatigue and increases the odds of error, putting patient safety at risk. No other first responders are expected to work alone; no firefighter, no RCMP, no-one.

nurses work through the weekend-and stat holidays aren't calculated. And though you may not be counting weekends, you’re certainly paying for them as overtime costs skyrocket. 4. Although you stated (incorrectly) that YG employs 40 community nurses, your staff corrected that number to 32. In fact, there are only 22.5 staffed nursing positions to serve the needs of rural Yukoners. Although there are 4 “float” positions to act as backup staff, those positions haven’t been filled for years. You tell us there are currently 11 vacant positions; that’s means the Yukon Government needs to hire 50% more nurses simply to meet its own required staffing levels. That's not normal turnover; that's a critical failure to manage operational needs. Putting the numbers aside, there are problems in Community Nursing that need scrutiny. In my opinion, high turnover in such a critical area indicates serious systemic malfunction. Prolonged position vacancies, chronic recruitment/ retention problems and the departure of committed long-term employees mean something is wrong. I suggest you take a look at how things are working at Community Nursing and get things fixed before something awful happens. Our members are talking. They’re talking to each other and they are certainly coming to talk with us. There are real problems in Community Nursing that this letter cannot address. You need to show some leadership and make it possible for these exhausted and under-resourced professionals to continue to provide the high quality care they are trained to provide.

3. You assert that Yukon nurses have never worked alone in a community for longer than five consecutive days; not true. That’s the result of flawed accounting of the true hours worked. The clock stops after five days; weekends aren't counted–even when Page 5

“ The Beginning is the most important part of the work.” Plato

One more suggestion: If you genuinely care about your employees and the health of rural Yukoners, get out from behind your desk. Travel to each health center I’ll even drive you myself. Have open and honest conversations with the nurses. Allow them to speak freely without fear of reprisal or recrimination. I think you’ll be surprised at what you learn… unless of course you already know but are choosing not to act. Steve Geick. YEU President & Proud Community Nurse

YEU NEWS Nov. 2015

Meet Tory Russell Member of the Month

Tory Russell is a long time Yukoner, a familiar face to many. You’ll often see Tory at the Fireweed Community Market in the Council of Canadians or NDP booth, walking the walk and working tirelessly for causes she believes in. This summer Tory became our volunteer extraordinaire, offering her time & energy helping ensure Yukoners were registered to vote in the federal election. Tory spent many hours manning the YEU’s booth at the outdoor markets, notably on a cold and snowy Saturday morning at the Wharf when even our laptop was having trouble staying on task.

She says “I was worried that rural folks without civic addressing would get turned away on Election day. I was proud to see my union dedicating resources to ensuring people were registered to vote. It felt great to volunteer to support democracy. We went to markets, pancake breakfasts, and candidates' debates. A lot of people were surprised to find they were not registered yet in the end, Yukon's voter turnout was among the highest in the country! And that's the best result of all, because engaged citizens are good medicine for democracy.” Thanks Tory, for all your hard work!

YEU is proud to host the 7th annual Canadian Labour International Film Festival in Whitehorse. Join us for a free evening of films exploring the world of work and those who do it.

Films from around the globe shine their light on unique stories you won’t see elsewhere. The CLiFF is a rare opportunity for Canadian & international film makers to share compelling stories about real people and issues. Each year we offer a selection of films ranging from comic shorts to animated films & hard hitting documentaries. We invite you to join us for a full slate of film experiences, all FREE and well worth watching.

7pm Thursday Nov. 19th Yukon Employees’ Union 2285 2nd Avenue Whitehorse Yukon www.labourfilms.ca or yeu.ca

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“Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.”― L. Frank Baum

YEU NEWS Nov. 2015

Yukon Employees’ Union Job Opportunity

Shop Steward Co-ordinator: Full time, 2-year term SALARY: $67,379 to 78,824 per annum based on 37.5 hours/week (under review) Application deadline: November 13, 2015 Yukon Employees Union is looking for a dynamic, collaborative and motivated individual to join the YEU team and take a lead role in supporting capacity development across our shop steward network. Reporting to the Executive Director, you will work closely with YEU elected leadership, Local executives and chief shop stewards to identify training needs and lead the creation and delivery of a training plan. Your significant knowledge of labour relations issues, principles of administrative law and natural justice as well as your familiarity with grievance processes will enable you to motivate and support new and existing shop stewards in their role. You have substantial knowledge of the union structure and values, and the benefits and challenges associated with unionized work environments. You have a thorough understanding of the role of shop stewards in the workplace and in the union. The ideal candidate for this position is an individual who takes initiative and who possesses superior communication and conflict resolution skills. You are experienced at identifying and solving problems in a pragmatic and collaborative manner, and you are comfortable engaging members from varied backgrounds to deliver information in an educational setting. Strong writing skills and computer literacy are required for this position.

Roma Walker with 2014 Hospital Bargaining Team

All of us at YEU extend our deepest sympathies to Roma Walker’s family and friends. Roma was a very special woman and her loss will be keenly felt. Roma became involved in her Union several years ago and represented her co-workers at the Watson Lake Hospital through two rounds of bargaining. She ensured the voice of her community reached those who needed to hear it. We were saddened to learn that Roma had finished her dance with cancer. We hope her beautiful energy and wonderful optimism continue to warm those who knew her. Her family was everything to her and her children her greatest joy.

We at YEU were lucky to work with Roma Walker and her light will be missed. Thank you, Roma.

Conditions of employment: • Class 5 driver’s licence • Willingness to travel to Yukon communities • Willingness to work flexible hours on occasion Applications should be sent to: Laura Hureau, Executive Director Yukon Employees Union 201-2285 Second Avenue Whitehorse, YT, Y1A 1C9 lhureau@yeu.ca Please note: We welcome applications from all equity groups.

Page 7 “The best endings are the ones that lead to new beginnings.”― Mathangi Subramanian

YEU News Nov. 2015

Monday November 9, 6pm in the Art Room, Robert Sevice School

IMPORTANT MEETING! for Union Members in Dawson City:

We have a new Local! Dawson City workers Local Y033 & Local Y026, Klondike YG workers have merged to help build momentum & strength. We have an Executive and some great ideas; now we need you! We’re trying something new in Dawson (don’t we always?) Let’s work together and create something to be proud of.

ANNUA AL General Meeting


PLEASE join us! 6pm November 9th at the Robert Service School. Contact Elizabeth with any questions. efoubister@hotmail.com



Meetings & Events

For more Information³Contact Tammi Sikorski (President) 867-335-1329 or Y010.president@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/YEULocalY010

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

Shop Steward Round Table: Nov 25, 9am - noon, YEU

Regional Women’s Cttee AGM: Wed Nov 25 5:15pm, YEU

YEU Monthly Exec Meeting: 2nd Thurs., 6:30-9:00 pm, YEU Hall

Y017 Monthly Meeting: 4th Wed., 7:30 p.m., YEU Hall


Christie Harper, Union Advisor; charper@yeu.ca Susan Koser, Union Advisor; skoser@yeu.ca

Sharleen Patterson, Union Advisor; spatterson@yeu.ca Beckie Huston, Intake Advisor; bhuston@yeu.ca Tammy Olsen, Financial Officer; tolsen@yeu.ca

TUB Courses: TUB Course for Aboriginal Workers Nov 21, 22

Roseanne Elias, Receptionist; reception@yeu.ca

Linda Miller, Membership Services; reception@yeu.ca

Deborah Turner-Davis, Communications: dturner-davis@yeu.ca Josh Cuppage, Executive Assistant; contact@yeu.ca Laura Hureau, Executive Director; lhureau@yeu.ca

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

Page 8 “Rather than turning the page, it's much easier to just throw the book away.” A. Liccione YEU NEWS Nov. 2015