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

Leaders raise expectations for federal election at Yukon Forum

‘We really need to be respectful of the progress that we have made in a short period of time’

New procurement policy set to be up and running this spring

The last major procurement overhaul occurred in 1995, Mostyn said

Yukon hospital workers reach tentative deal to avoid a strike

The proposal will be voted on March 4, the union says

Longtime Yukon lawyer, former federal NDP candidate Melissa Atkinson dead at 45

Atkinson, who served as the territory’s first Indigenous Crown attorney, died the morning of Feb. 14.

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

German rookie wins 2019 Yukon Quest red lantern

Hendrik Stachnau was the last musher to cross the finish line

Hospital workers are prepared to strike

‘They’ve had enough’

Whitehorse mayor calls tax and fee increases reasonable

Council approved the 2019 operations budget

Team Yukon attends pep rally before heading off to Canada Winter Games

The Games are taking place in Red Deer, Alta., from Feb. 15 to March 3.

This year’s Sima Cup medals were delicious

A local bakery provided the prizes

Mushers of all sizes come out for the Babe Southwick Memorial Sled Dog Races

As the leading Yukon Quest mushers were nearing the finish of their… Continue reading

History Hunter: Mining on Dublin Gulch has a long history

A new gold mine is being developed north of Mayo that will… Continue reading

Yukonomist: Yukon carbon tax decisions

With the carbon tax coming into effect on July 1, you now… Continue reading

Most Read