The strike against the city, led by the Union of Northern Workers (UNW), has come to an end.

There are no more picket lines and city services are returning to normal in stages.

According to a news release from the UNW, the terms of the agreement include compounded wage increases of 5.83 per cent that are fully retroactive, an additional signing bonus of $1,800 to each permanent full-time, term and casual full-time employee, $850 to each permanent part-time employee and seasonal employee and $300 to each casual part-time employee, paid to city workers employed on March 17.

Council voted unanimously in favor of bylaw 5066 on Friday night, which is the municipality’s collective agreement with the UNW and Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) North, after unionized city workers voted to ratify the agreement.

Gayla Thunstrom, UNW president, stated, “The last few weeks have been long, cold, and hard. I am amazed by the strength of the members and their ability to keep their humour throughout.

“I am so proud of the members standing up for what they believe in and for each other.”

Lorraine Rousseau PSAC North regional executive vice-president stated, “Over the past weeks, city workers showed us what solidarity looks like.

“Throughout the lockout/strike, we were surrounded by solidarity from Yellowknife’s residents, local businesses, and unions from coast to coast to coast.

“It didn’t matter how cold it was outside, city workers braved Yellowknife’s freezing temperatures to send a strong message.

“All workers deserve fair wages and a gain for one is a gain for all,” said Rousseau.

Mayor Rebecca Alty told Yellowknifer that council is pleased that an agreement was reached.

“Our employees play such an important and valuable role in the community and provide top-notch services, and we are happy to have everyone back at work to provide those services to Yellowknife residents,” she said. “We commend the work of the negotiating teams for both the union and the city, and are appreciative of all efforts made by both parties to get back to the table and reach an agreement.

“The last six weeks have been extremely difficult for everyone in the city. We understand the labour disruption had an impact on the daily lives of many residents,” Alty added. “As a tight-knit community and territory, we recognize the suspension of services is difficult, and want residents to know the city is committed to getting them up and running again as soon as possible.”

Close to 200 city workers had been on strike for 37 days since Feb 8.

Mayor and council did not offer any commentary on the deal while voting on it during the city’s webcast.

Service update

According to a news release from Sarah Sibley, the city’s manager of communications and economic development, the Yellowknife Public Library, Ruth Inch Memorial Pool, Multiplex, Fieldhouse, Yellowknife Community Arena, Visitor Information Centre, and city hall are all open as of Tuesday.

The solid waste facility will remain closed to the public until further notice.

The city’s plans for special events such as the Easter skate and spring clean-up have resumed. Specific details about the events will be provided at a later date.

Winter road maintenance has resumed, and waste disposal will continue on this week and the next. Compost and organics pickups will begin on the week of April 3 and the regular bi-weekly scheduled pickup will carry on from there.

Jonathan Gardiner

After a tough break looking for employment in Alberta, I moved to Yellowknife in 2017 and became a multimedia journalist in 2022. I enjoy the networking side of my job, and I also aspire to write my...

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