It’s only a matter of hours now before Yellowknife gets plunged into a labour stoppage.
Local X0345 of the Union of Northern Workers (UNW) served notice to the city at 12:01 a.m. Sunday that it would begin strike action this coming Wednesday, Feb. 8. That’s the day the UNW indicated its members employed by the city would begin striking following a vote last month to give the union a mandate to do so.
A city spokesperson confirmed that of the 277 people employed by the city, 192 of those belong to the union.
On its website, the city stated it was still “… committed to the bargaining process and the negotiation in good faith of a collective agreement.” Negotiations on a new deal began last October but took a turn for the worse the following month. According to the UNW’s bargaining team, the union faced strong pressure from the city to make a deal.
The city declared an impasse in talks on Nov. 3, according to a statement by the union, and a conciliator was brought in to try and convince both sides to get back to the table and hammer out a deal.
It didn’t work.
Because of the UNW’s decision, the city has made changes to the services it will be providing.
City hall will be open for appointments only and only with specific staff. Residents are being asked to go to the city’s website if they need to get information or pay bills. The city is also telling residents that phone calls and e-mails may be delayed in response due to the job action.
All other facilities are closed, including the Multiplex, Ruth Inch Memorial Pool, Yk Community Arena, Fieldhouse, library, visitors centre and the dump. The city has said anyone who has purchased a flex-pass will have their passes extended for any missed time.
The fire division and municipal enforcement will still be operating as normal, as will public transit. Garbage pick-up will now switch to a weekly schedule with compost bin pick-up suspended until the strike comes to an end. The blue bin recycling stations around the city are also not available to the public.
The public washrooms at Somba K’e Park re also closed until further notice and outdoor skating rinks, trails and any other outdoor facilities operated by the city will not be maintained for the duration of the strike.
After the past few years of hell most YKer’s went through, the union nor the strikers have my support. Increased wages and benefits means increased taxes. Unless you work for the city or the gnwt and with the cost of living, you have very little left, if anything, to pay the higher taxes.