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Yellowknife strike: ‘Flight delay’ pushes back mediation to Monday

A picket line outside Yellowknife City Hall
A picket line outside Yellowknife City Hall. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

The Union of Northern Workers says fresh talks to end a strike at the City of Yellowknife have been postponed “due to the mediator’s flights being delayed.”

Earlier on Friday, union leaders had said City of Yellowknife and union bargaining teams would resume mediated talks on Sunday. Those talks will now take place on Monday, the UNW said in an update.

In their initial statement, Gayla Thunstrom and Lorraine Rousseau said by email that their unions expect the city to “table a new proposal” when negotiations resume. The city earlier said it had asked the union to name a date for fresh talks.

“The team is hopeful that when they sit down with the city, the employer will show they are there to bargain in good faith by being willing to actually discuss wages, which they have refused to do up until now,” Thunstrom and Rousseau stated, adding that a vote to strike had demonstrated “a clear message” that the wage offer – two percent a year – was not acceptable.



Thunstrom is president of the Union of Northern Workers. Rousseau is the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s regional executive vice-president for the North. The UNW is a component of the PSAC.

The CBC reported on Thursday that an internal memo shows the unions are seeking five-percent increases for municipal staff in year one, followed by three percent in year two, among other requests.

Staff walked off the job on Wednesday in what the unions have said is both a strike and a lockout.

“Our members are behind their team, and will continue to picket until the bargaining team reach a deal and the city ends their lockout,” the union leaders’ statement concluded.

On Thursday, the city said it had a new offer prepared and was “committed to reaching a fair, respectful and affordable agreement.”