Steve Geick, president of the Yukon Employees’ Union, says YEU is looking into legal action following a decision by the Yukon government to restructure Queen’s Printer and Central Stores. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)

YEU threatens legal action against YG for ‘restructuring’ Queen’s Printer, Central Stores

Some workers are going to be assigned new jobs, positions

The Yukon Employees’ Union (YEU) is looking into legal action following a decision by the Yukon government to restructure Queen’s Printer and Central Stores, says the union’s president.

“I’ll be talking to our legal department,” Steve Geick told the News on Oct. 21. “We’re mobilizing the members and we’re gonna put as much pressure on them as we can. I mean, this is turning into a big election issue for (Highways and Public Works Minister Richard) Mostyn, huge.

“This is huge, a disgrace, and for a party that prided themselves on their platform about respecting public servants, this is a travesty. They’re in no way respecting or doing anything for public servants to make people want to stay.”

Restructuring at Queen’s Printer, which prints government forms and documents, including some sensitive paperwork, and the shuttering of Central Stores was announced last week. It’s dominated the legislative assembly since.

Seventeen workers are to be impacted, reportedly.

Mostyn said in the legislative assembly this week that the move is a cost-saving attempt.

He called the services at Queen’s Printer “archaic” and “virtually obsolete.”

“I am an old newspaper guy and I have seen the changes in the print industry first-hand,” he said. “This is not the way it was in 1978 or 1988. This is a brand new world where print services have gone online.

“As part of this modernization of services, the Queen’s Printer Agency will now focus exclusively on sensitive material such as budget documents instead of the wide range of government printing services that it currently offers. There will be a small cadre of people who will continue to do confidential printing for the Department of Highways and Public Works and the government as a whole, but the majority of the employees will be moved to other areas of Highways and Public Works and will have a different reporting structure.”

Central Stores, which supplies stationary, among other things, will shutter and change hands to the private sector, Mostyn said. Doing so, he said, will save the territory $1.6 million.

He said no workers will be laid off. Mostyn said that employees were alerted of the move on Oct. 17.

During question period, Stacey Hassard, interim leader of the Yukon Party, said workers were provided with 10 minutes notice before the call was made.

Mostyn didn’t answer the question directly, but said the decision was settled on in late September, that his department has been working with the union.

“We have a plan for every employee who is affected by this issue, and we want to make sure that they find something that’s meaningful and will be a worthy career for them going forward,” he said.

Geick is calling on Mostyn to stop saying he’s collaborated with the union. Geick said he hasn’t.

Geick said job descriptions for some workers will change; others will be offered different roles within the department.

Conversations regarding potential changes started last December, said Geick, but government representatives wouldn’t provide specifics, in terms of when they would take effect.

“(There’s been a) total lack of communication,” he said, noting that there remains no timeline for when changes will occur.

Workers haven’t been provided with new job descriptions, Geick said.

“It’s very underhanded. They did not take into consideration any of the people that actually work there. To keep people on the edge like that for over a year, it’s ridiculous. You got a whole group of people wondering what they’re gonna do for a living and there’s no timeline on what’s happening, so it’s absolutely insane.”

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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