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

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for June 14

Frostbitten big toe finds new home in Dawson City’s infamous cocktail

Nick Griffiths, who ran the Yukon Arctic Ultra in 2018, donated two toes to the Downtown Hotel.

Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation suspends deputy chief after impaired driving charges

Deputy Chief Cheryl Charlie was charged June 6. Councillor Darius Elias has also been suspended.

Firefighters called to Whitehorse Elementary School over code violations

Door that occasionally wouldn’t open from inside among many issues that need attention, parent says

Give Hope Wings fundraiser launches Saturday from Pitt Meadows

Flying marathon will benefit low income Canadians needing flights for medical treatment

Driving with Jens: Keeping pets safe in your vehicle

In my last column I discussed ways to avoid the tragedy which… Continue reading

Yukonomist: Whitehorse Troughbillies

Yukon could take its hot rocks to the bank

ParticipACTION Community Better Challenge spurs mountain bike races in Whitehorse

“I have to remind myself to do that sometimes – just slow down and look around.”

Whitehorse FC Premier U15 boys finish fourth despite injuries and short bench at Slurpee Cup

“They worked super hard and were more hungry for the win than the other team”

2019 Yukon Gymnastics Championships showcase Whitehorse talent

“It was a nice way to end off our season”

U Kon Echelon holds multi-stage Yukon Energy Road Cycling Championships

The 2019 Yukon Energy Road Cycling Championships were held in and around… Continue reading

Cyclists race in the rain at Southern Lakes Yukon GranFondo

‘It was a good number for the conditions’

Most Read