The Yukon Teachers’ Association filed a legal petition against the Yukon government on March 24. (Yukon News file)

The Yukon Teachers’ Association filed a legal petition against the Yukon government on March 24. (Yukon News file)

YTA files lawsuit over rehiring policy for laid-off teachers

Petition alleges that the Yukon government has broken its collective agreement

The Yukon Teachers’ Association (YTA) is taking the government to court over its plan for laid-off teachers in the new school year.

The YTA submitted a petition to the Yukon Supreme Court on March 24.

It alleges that the Yukon government is breaching the terms of its collective agreement, which requires that laid-off teachers be offered re-employment without competition, in priority to other qualified applicants.

The collective agreement intends to provide job security for teachers by ensuring that when a teacher is laid off at one school, they are prioritized for hiring at another.

The YTA alleges that the Yukon government intends to consider laid-off teachers in competition with outside applicants while hiring for the upcoming school year.

Ted Hupé, YTA president, said in an affidavit that he was informed of the change during a March 12 meeting with education officials.

According to the petition, the YTA was informed that laid-off teachers don’t have a right to a non-competitive rehire until after the last day of school, or the “effective layoff date.” The petition points out that the department intends to post vacant positions prior to the last day of school.

“The employees on layoff notice will not be given priority over external applicants for vacant positions prior to the effective layoff date,” the petition says.

It continues to say that the Yukon government could, theoretically, offer positions to laid-off staff after the last day of school.

“However, YG has established in practice that indeterminate postings for the following school year are not posted after the effective layoff date,” the petition says.

“Therefore, there would be no vacant postings available for YG to offer to employees on layoff notices after the effective layoff date.”

The petition accuses the government of denying employees the rights set out in their YTA agreement; denying job security; and undermining the relationship and confidence between staff and the YTA.

It suggests that teachers who are seeking job security might be forced to either leave the Yukon or seek employment in an industry outside the education system.

In his affidavit, Hupé argues that the education department’s intention to open jobs to general competition is contrary to practices in previous years.

“I further do verily believe that the damage suffered by YTA to its reputation and to its relations with its members will be irreparable,” Hupé said.

The petition seeks an injunction barring the Yukon government from posting vacant teaching positions for general competition without first offering those positions to teachers laid off in 2019-20 or 2020-21.

The Yukon government cannot comment on matters currently before the courts. A hearing date for the case has not yet been set.

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com

Yukon Teachers Association

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