High Country restaurant workers unionize

Around 30 hotel restaurant workers voted to join a union. A vote was held in three sessions until 10 p.m. last Thursday for restaurant, kitchen and bar staff at The Deck and Morels, the two restaurants at the Coast High Country Inn.

Around 30 hotel restaurant workers voted to join a union.

A vote was held in three sessions until 10 p.m. last Thursday for restaurant, kitchen and bar staff at The Deck and Morels, the two restaurants at the Coast High Country Inn.

Approximately 70 per cent of the workers came to vote, with “a vast majority” of them agreeing to be part of the union, said Matthew Magoffin, an organizer with the United Association.

Bartenders, some of whom have been working at The Deck and Morels for years, first approached Magoffin in March, he said.

By the end of May, an application was made to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board to certify the United Association as the official representative of the workers.

It’s the first time Whitehorse hotel workers have joined the union, said Magoffin. “They wanted to find a way of sorting out issues instead of being on their own,” he said.

The High Country Inn partnered with the franchise in December to use their branding and access a larger market.

But that doesn’t have anything to do with why the workers wanted to unionize, Magoffin said.

Management is worried about increasing wages, said Northern Vision Development CEO Rich Thompson, who oversees the High Country Inn.

The application to join a union “came out of the blue,” Thompson said. “Once the process starts you’re not really able to intervene and understand in any way, really. We don’t really have an appreciation for what their specific motivations were,” he added.

Northern Vision Development also owns the Edgewater Hotel and Best Western Gold Rush Inn, but the workers there are not unionized. This is the first time their staff have joined a union.

The Deck and Morels staff are paid a “competitive wage,” Thompson said. It would be “a challenge” if the workers ask for a wage increase, considering the restaurant is not very profitable, he said.

Wages are not the underlying issue, Magoffin said. It was more about “workplace harmony,” “conflict resolution,” and “hiring protocol,” but he wouldn’t get into specifics.

It could have a positive or negative effect on the hotel, depending on what the negotiations are, said Thompson. “We have no experience with unions and so we don’t have any pre-set notions of whether this is a good or bad thing.”

Magoffin plans to meet with the newly added members of the union next week. The union will work with Northern Vision to reach a fair deal, he said.

“They’re good employers and they’ve done a lot of good things in the Yukon,” Magoffin said.

Staff at The Deck and Morels fluctuates between 23-35 employees, depending on the season, he said.

Contact Krystle Alarcon at krystlea@yukon-news.com

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the only other unionized restaurant workers in the territory are found at Diamond Tooth Gerties in Dawson City.

We have since been notified by Bill Holmes, the casino manager, that while Diamond Tooth Gerties is unionized by PSAC, the concession is contracted out and therefore falls outside of the union agreement. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

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

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read