Crystal Schick/Yukon News People on strike from Many Rivers hold up signs and flags along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Nov. 6. The two sides have reached a deal and employees will be back in the office Feb. 7

Updated: Many Rivers workers set to go back to work

Union members voted to ratify a new agreement Jan. 22

Counsellors at Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services will be back to work Feb. 7, after almost three months on the picket line.

Steve Geick, president of the Yukon Employees Union, said the bargaining teams had been meeting since Jan. 17 and came to an agreement after midnight on Jan. 22.

The agreement was voted on and ratified by members of the YEU and Many Rivers at 10 a.m. on Jan. 22.

Eighteen employees in Whitehorse, Dawson City, Haines Junction and Watson Lake had been striking since Nov. 2 after contract negotiations deteriorated. Negotiations had been ongoing. In December, Many Rivers employees held a press conference to say they were having particular trouble negotiating with management around a base salary increase and the issue of flexibility around scheduling clients.

Geick said the two sides landed on a 7.5 per cent increase over the duration of the five-year agreement.

He also said that employees have to be present for a core stretch of hours each day, but were otherwise granted flexibility.

“I believe that was a 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (core hours) kind of thing, but other than that they have the ability now to be more flexible with their hours so they can accommodate clients coming in early, late or running over, that kind of thing.”

Geick said the return to work will be gradual, with administrative staff returning first, followed by counsellors.

He said that, over the course of the strike, employee numbers dropped from 18 to 14.

Two of the missing staffers held casual positions with the outreach van, funding for which went to the Blood Ties Four Directions Centre. Two others were counsellor positions in Watson Lake, where employees had to find other work.

Geick said there will also be a two-day return-to-work session for remaining employees. It will be facilitated by the federal mediation and conciliation service.

“It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride for everybody,” said Geick, explaining that the session, for both employees and management, will focus on how to get back to the job and be respectful in the workplace in the wake of the strike.

Geick said that in eight years with the YEU, he doesn’t remember having seen a picket line last this long.

“I think they feel pretty good. Mixed emotions. They’ve been on the street for a long time.

“I’m super, super proud of these people. I mean this is not something that happened in their life every day, especially with the type of work they so. They have been rock solid.”

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Yukon government was wrong in evicting youth from a group home, commissioner finds

The health department has roughly two months to respond to recommendations

Stephanie Dixon ready to dive into new role as chef de mission for 2019 Parapan American Games and 2020 Paralympic Games

“You do it because you believe in yourself and you have people around you that believe in you”

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Whitehorse becomes first community north of 60 to have private pot shop

Triple J’s Canna Space opens its doors to first customers

Whitehorse council news, briefly

Some of the news that came out of Whitehorse city council this week

Snowmobiles and snow bikes descend on Mount Sima for Yukon Yamaha Uphill Challenge

“I think everyone had their eyes opened on what could be done there”

Yukon Orienteering Association starts Coast Mountain Sports Sprint Series off in the right direction

The race on April 11 was the first of five sprint races planned for the spring

Yukon gymnasts stick the landing at inaugural B.C. Junior Olympic Compulsory Championships

Seven Polarettes earned five podium finishes at the two-day event in Langley, B.C.

École Émilie-Tremblay hosts first Yukon elementary school wrestling meet of 2019

“You can grab kids and you can trip and you can do that rough play, but there are rules”

Driving with Jens: Survey says….

If you’re like me, you probably feel inundated with surveys. It seems… Continue reading

Editorial: Promising electoral reform is the easy part

Details of what that would actually look like are much harder to come by

Yukonomist: The centre of the business universe moves 4,000 k.m. northwest

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business named Whitehorse Canada’s top place to start and grow a business

Whitehorse starts getting ready for Japanese students

This summer 13 Japanese students are slated to come north

Most Read