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UPDATE: Yukon Hospital Corporation and workers’ unions tentatively agree, unions say

Hospital corporation source had said it “remains committed to reaching a renewed collective agreement”
The sign at the Whitehorse General Hospital seen on Oct. 18, 2022. Unionized Yukon Hospital Corporation workers represented by the Yukon Employees’ Union and the Public Service Alliance of Canada Local Y025 have been without a collective agreement since 2022. The unions say the employer and the workers have reached a tentative deal. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

Shortly after some unionized hospital workers voted in favour of a strike mandate, a provisional deal has been reached between the unions representing Yukon hospital workers and the Yukon Hospital Corporation, according to a joint press release issued by the unions on March 1.

The release from the Yukon Employees Union (YEU) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Local Y025 attributes the move forward in negotiations toward a tentative agreement to the recent strike vote.

The News has reached out to the Yukon Hospital Corporation, which confirmed a deal subject to change.

Read our original story below:

Some Yukon Hospital Corporation workers voted in favour of a strike mandate, which means the territory’s three hospitals could see job action as soon as the clock strikes midnight on March 26 if the employer doesn’t offer a “fair deal,” according to YEU president Justin Lemphers.

“What’s at stake from a workers’ perspective is good work conditions, good work for a good wage and the respect that comes with it,” he said.

“But we also want to make sure that we’ve got continuity of service for the Yukon public. So, we’re hoping to get a deal that works for the members without needing to impact Yukoners’ lives.”

Lemphers explained by phone from out of territory on Feb. 29 that the strike vote was open to members of the PSAC, which holds the bargaining ticket. All YEU members who work at the hospital fall under that PSAC local.

A union press release issued on Feb. 29 indicates the local’s members voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of giving their local a strike mandate, with a “high” voter turnout.

The union and the hospital corporation haven’t had a contract since September 2022, per the union’s release.

After eight months of negotiating, the local’s bargaining team applied for conciliation on Nov. 28, 2023, as noted in the release.

The release notes the team has been in conciliation over this past week.

The union’s asks are available via an online bargaining update from March 17, 2023.

“The bargaining team has been working on, since then, has been trying to come to agreement on those terms. The bargaining team entered into conciliation and has been working with a conciliator because we couldn’t get there on our own,” Lemphers said.

“It creates a little bit more pressure on the employer,” he added, noting the “good turnout” at the vote and in favour of a strike mandate.

Lemphers declined to provide a breakdown of the strike vote outcome, citing PSAC policy.

A source from the Yukon Hospital Corporation told the News talks have been ongoing since the collective agreement expired at midnight on Aug. 31, 2022. Discussions resumed this week through the conciliation process.

“During this time, our priority is to continue delivering safe and excellent hospital care. Yukon Hospitals remains committed to reaching a renewed collective agreement with the Yukon Employees’ Union (PSAC) in good faith and at the bargaining table,” the source said by email.

Lemphers noted about 400 workers are affected.

“There’s no one who’s not essential to the function of that organization,” he said.

According to the Yukon Hospital Corporation website, PSAC represents many support service positions such as administrative, custodial, lab, imaging, food services, licensed practical nurses and others.

If a strike goes ahead, then that could trigger different types of job action ranging from work-to-rule (in which employees do the minimum, for example, no overtime and no breaks) to picket lines with a mass group of employees out of work, per Lemphers.

He said the voting period took place over multiple days to cover different workplaces and shifts with the option to vote in-person or using a secure voting platform.

Votes were tallied on Feb. 28.

Yukon NDP Leader Kate White took to social media to express support for the health-care workers who have been pushed to the “brink of a strike,” calling on the hospital corporation to “come to the table with a fair deal.”

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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