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Unions begin strike training for Yellowknife city workers

The Union of Northern Workers' headquarters in Yellowknife
The Union of Northern Workers' headquarters in Yellowknife. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

City of Yellowknife workers are being offered strike training by their unions ahead of possible industrial action in February.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada and one of its components, the Union of Northern Workers, each have a role in representing union members who work for the city.

Strike training offered by PSAC begins on Thursday, while UNW strike training commences on Saturday, according to an update posted on the UNW’s website. Sessions are three to four hours in length.

Earlier this week, a PSAC spokesperson said there was no update on bargaining since the unions said a majority of voting members had backed strike action.



After that vote, the City of Yellowknife said it “remains committed to the bargaining process and negotiation of a collective agreement” but had begun “business continuity and job action contingency planning” in case a strike ensues.

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 unions say the offer on the table is too little.

Attempts to move the collective bargaining process forward with an independent conciliator in December failed. While there is no clear timeline for strike action – and it’s possible no strike will take place, depending on movement in bargaining – the unions say they are in a legal position to strike from February 8 onward.

Strike training is a normal precursor to a walkout. Similar training sessions were held in 2018 ahead of an expected GNWT strike that did not ultimately materialize.