YEU elects new boss

Steve Geick is the new president of the Yukon Employees' Union. The 53-year-old registered nurse has served as the union's second vice-president for the past six years. Ten of the 13 members are new to the executive.

Steve Geick is the new president of the Yukon Employees’ Union.

The 53-year-old registered nurse has served as the union’s second vice-president for the past six years.

Ten of the 13 members are new to the executive. And five are under the age of 35, “which is a first,” said Geick. “It’s something that we’ve been trying for a long time.

“I think you will be something we definitely need, and that’s not just for new blood, but for new ideas.”

Geick, along with vice-president Loralee Kesler and secretary Becky Nash, will provide some institutional memory over the next, three-year term. “We need to have a little history come along with us,” he said.

The union represents 4,000 members. Most, who work within the Yukon government, will see their collective agreement expire in January, so bargaining preparations will start soon.

Geick lived in Dawson City until a year and a half ago. He helped start the first local there about five years ago. Several others have since sprung up, in Dawson, Watson Lake and Mayo, which Geick lauds.

“Communities need to have a direct voice,” he said.

Geick’s involvement in the labour movement began at age 16, when he joined the Teamsters as a truck driver in Sudbury. He became a registered nurse in 1992.

The YEU’s parent organization, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, has warned that the Conservative federal government has plans to raid Ottawa’s pension fund. That could affect workers in Yukon’s bureaucracy, as their retirement benefits are administered by the federal government, said Geick.

So far, the territory has managed to avoid much of the pain experienced elsewhere in Canada following the global credit crunch. “We seem to be in this bubble that protects us from everything,” said Geick. “But I don’t think that bubble is going to be there forever.”

For that reason, he hopes to see the union “united with other like-minded organizations.”

Newer Yukon government workers are prone to being bounced from one temporary assignment to the next, rather than receiving a permanent position. Geick isn’t sure what the solution is, “but it’s definitely one of the things we’re going to look at.”

Geick replaces Laurie Butterworth, who served as president for the past six years. Butterworth is now holed up in a small office, not much bigger than a broom closet, to help with the transition for the next two months.

Then he’s hitting the road. He’ll be retired, and he reckons he’s weathered enough Yukon winters to take one off with his wife, aboard their truck and trailer, to search for “short-pants weather.”

Contact John Thompson at

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

Just Posted

Team Togo member Katie Moen sits in a sled behind a snowmobile for the ride from the airport to Chief Zzeh Gittlit School. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Coming together: How Old Crow became one of the first communities in the world to be fully vaccinated

Team Togo and Team Balto assembled with a mission to not waste a single dose of vaccine

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. If council moves forward with bylaw changes, eating and drinking establishments could set up pop-up patios in on-street parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Patios may be popping up in Whitehorse this summer

City considers program for downtown restaurants and bars

The Yukon Coroner's Service has confirmed the death of a skateboarder found injured on Hamilton Boulevard on May 2. Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News
Whitehorse man dies in skateboarding accident

Coroner urges the use of helmets, protective gear, while skateboarding.

The new Yukon Liberal caucus poses for a photo during the swearing-in ceremony held on May 3. (Yukon Government/Submitted)
Liberal cabinet sworn in at legislature before house resumes on May 11

Newly elected MLA Jeremy Harper has been nominated as speaker.

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve’s baby bison, born April 22, mingles with the herd on April 29. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Yukon Wildlife Preserves welcomes two bison calves

A bison calf was the first 2021 baby born at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

A map provided by the Yukon government shows the location of unpermitted logging leading to a $2,500 fine. (Courtesy/Yukon government)
Man fined $2,500 for felling trees near Beaver Creek

The incident was investigated by natural resource officers and brought to court.

The site of the Old Crow solar project photographed on Feb. 20. The Vuntut Gwitchin solar project was planned for completion last summer, but delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Old Crow is switching to solar

The first phase of the community’s solar array is already generating power.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
One new case of COVID-19 in the Yukon

Case number 82 is the territory’s only active case

Flood and fire risk and potential were discussed April 29. Yukoners were told to be prepared in the event of either a flood or a fire. Submitted Photo/B.C. Wildfire Service
Yukoners told to be prepared for floods and wildland fire season

Floods and fire personelle spoke to the current risks of both weather events in the coming months.

From left to right, Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola departed for Kluane National Park on April 12. The duo is the first all-woman expedition to summit Mt. Lucania. (Michael Schmidt/Icefield Discovery)
First all-woman team summits Mt. Lucania

“You have gifted us with a magical journey that we will forever treasure.”

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

Whitehorse goings-on for the week of April 26

The Yukon Department of Education in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. The department has announced new dates for the 2021/2022 school year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Yukon school dates set for 2021/22

The schedule shows classes starting on Aug. 23, 2021 for all Whitehorse schools and in some communities.

Most Read