Air North and union reach a possible deal

After a week of renewed negotiations, Air North and its flight attendants have reached a tentative contract agreement.

After a week of renewed negotiations, Air North and its flight attendants have reached a tentative contract agreement.

Details of the deal are not being released until the approximately 30 flight attendants vote whether or not to ratify it.

“It has taken commitment from both bargaining teams to arrive at this deal. We appreciate the amount of work that has gone into the tentative contract. There was a lot of ground to cover in a short time,” said Yukon Employees Union president Steve Geick in a statement.

If the deal is approved by the flight attendants, it will be the first union contract at the locally-owned airline.

Both sides are confident the agreement will be ratified in the next few weeks, the airline said in a statement of its own.

“We’ll streamline our costs in staffing, scheduling and compensation – and in the process our flight attendants will have the opportunity to earn more and find a better work/life balance,” president Joe Sparling wrote.

“This process presented a tremendous learning curve for the company, and we’d like to take the opportunity to thank the efforts of our management team and our negotiator. Although the negotiations took longer than either party had hoped, we feel the result was worth it.”

Not long ago, any sort of deal appeared far off.

Tensions between the two sides reached a peak at the end of September when the flight attendants began a work to rule. On some flights they refused to do more than the basics to keep the planes safe. That meant no food or beverages for passengers.

Some protesting flight attendants who refused to wear their full uniforms were sent home. Tempers flared, but after 48 hours the two sides agreed to go back to the table to continue negotiations.

Both sides then maintained a media blackout until Friday, when the tentative deal was announced.

The two sides have been negotiating since October 2013.

When the job action was announced, Geick said 85 per cent of the flight attendants approved it.

The union said employees were frustrated with the slow speed of negotiations.

The union insists that Air North flight attendants are paid lower than those in similar-sized airlines.

No one has said exactly how much of a pay bump the flight attendants are looking for.

Aside from a salary increase, other stumbling blocks to the negotiations were the company’s pay grid, guaranteed work hours and vacation pay.

Sparling has said many of the issues are tied to the company’s desire to keep full time employees and avoid laying people off in the off-season.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Then Old Crow MLA Darius Elias speak’s in the community centre in Old Crow in 2016. Elias died in Whitehorse on Feb. 17. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News file)
Condolences shared for former Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias

Elias is remembered as a proud parent, hockey fan and politican

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

(File photo)
RCMP arrest Saskatchewan murder suspect

Yukon RCMP have arrested a man suspected of attempted murder from outside… Continue reading

Most Read