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

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read