‘Overwhelming majority’ of voting city staff choose to strike
The unions representing City of Yellowknife workers say an “overwhelming majority” of voting unionized municipal staff have backed strike action.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada and Union of Northern Workers, in a joint statement, summarized the result in an email to members and a brief statement to Cabin Radio on Wednesday.
The unions initially said an overwhelming majority of members had voted to strike. After this article was first published, a spokesperson clarified that an “overwhelming majority of those who voted” had supported striking.
Details of the vote, such as the turnout and how many people backed each option, were not provided. Unions often do not publicize the detail of such votes as they can be strategically important to negotiations.
PSAC and the UNW said they would have no public comment about the strike vote other than to confirm the broad outcome. The earliest a strike could take place is February 8, the unions added by email, calling on the city to return to the bargaining table in the interim.
The city is offering unionized workers a two-percent salary increase backdated to the start of 2022 and another two-percent increase in 2023. The Union of Northern Workers, of which Local 345 is a part, says the offer on the table is too little.
Attempts to move the collective bargaining process forward with an independent conciliator in December failed.
In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, the City of Yellowknife said it “appreciates the UNW’s role as the bargaining agent” for unionized members and “remains committed to the bargaining process and negotiation of a collective agreement.”
“The city is undertaking business continuity and job action contingency planning so it is prepared in the event that a strike commences,” a spokesperson wrote.
“As this is an ongoing negotiation, the city does not have any further comment to provide to the media at this point. Information updates will be communicated to the public as the situation evolves.”