From: Jessica Davey-Quantick,


Dear editor,

What — and this bears repeating — the absolute heck was Nancy Vail’s column about (Notes from the Trail: Strike has a hidden price, Yellowknife, Feb. 22)?

Gee whiz, it sure is unfortunate when someone has to wait 15 minutes to access a dog park or swimming pool. But, you know, that’s kind of the point. Strike actions are not just a chance for a lovely solidarity singalong and stroll, especially in -40 C. A strike is meant to underline exactly why those workers are so important.

And clearly, it’s worked.

City workers do so much more than clear snow and decorate for the holidays — they are the backbone of what keeps this town running. And they can barely afford to live here. The pay grids are on the union website; I’m shocked news outlets haven’t done any work to find out what the bottom of the pile are being paid. I’m ashamed to live in a city that doesn’t pay its own employees a living wage.

That’s what this is all about — it’s not a greedy quibble, it’s not a chance to rehash old arguments or smugly declare we can’t afford taxes to go up to pay for this (they wouldn’t, and even if they did, shouldn’t we, as people who care about social justice, be willing to pay a little bit more if it means someone else can, I don’t know, afford to eat?).

It’s certainly not a chance to invoke the ghost of Giant Mine, and villainize the people on the picket lines. It’s irresponsible to egg on the public to turn on the strikers. They are not the problem here, the city is. The city needs to come back with a reasonable offer. The employees don’t want cake. They want a living wage for the work they do.

That is worth having to wait to go to the pool.

Join the Conversation


Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.