The Union of Northern Workers announced Friday that the order limiting the number of picketers at city facilities has been amended.
Northwest Territories Supreme Court Justice Andrew Mahar granted an order on Wednesday that, for 10 days, prevents union members from obstructing access to sites where the city operates.
UNW President Gayla Thunstrom; Lorraine Rousseau, PSAC North regional executive vice-president; and Chris Aylward, PSAC national president, stated that they were pleased with the ruling.
“It is shameful that the city is attempting to use the courts to infringe on their workers’ rights and freedoms in order to mitigate the financial impacts the city faces as a consequence of their lockout,” the three union executives stated in a joint news release. “We look forward to responding to their allegations in court next Tuesday.”
Previously, the order prevented more than six people from picketing at the public pool, curling club, solid waste facility, Multiplex, Field House and city hall. It also limited delay to entering those sites to 10 minutes, and only to convey information.
The unions’ statement describes the previous order as a “heavy-handed tactic” used by the municipality to “bully and intimidate” union members.
“Our members are more united than ever and will continue to picket in accordance with the law, until the employer is ready to come back to the table with a new offer,” stated the three union executives.
Thunstrom told Yellowknifer that there is no longer a limit on the number of picketers that can be at any given location.
“Our members will continue to comply with the language in the injunction regarding stoppage of vehicles and persons entering city facilities,” she said, referring to the maximum 10-minute delay, and only when conveying information.
When the municipality applied for the court order, it claimed that wait times for vehicles delayed by picketers were increasing and could cause irreparable harm if not addressed.