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UNW to hold fresh Hay River health strike vote as mediation fails

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

Union negotiators representing Hay River health workers say they’ll seek a fresh strike vote after mediation with the health authority failed.

The Canada Industrial Relations Board – which recently ruled the Union of Northern Workers had declared an unlawful strike earlier in the summer – had offered in September to moderate talks with Hay River’s health authority.

This week, the union asserted that the health authority had made “minimal” movement on its previous offer and then refused to continue bargaining. “Your bargaining team unanimously decided to ask you for another strike mandate,” a note on the UNW’s website read.

Hay River’s health authority alleges the opposite: that the union won’t continue talks.

“Unfortunately, the mediation was not successful,” Erin Griffiths, the health authority’s chief executive, told Cabin Radio by email.



“We did not walk away. We had hoped to continue this week and expressed exactly that, but the union did not agree to continue.”

The union also set out a range of issues it has with the health authority’s latest proposal, which would result in a new five-year collective agreement. Many of those issues relate to how the health authority’s offer compares to the treatment of workers under the NWT government’s separate collective agreement.

Griffiths said the health authority discussing the content of any proposal was “inappropriate” at this point.

More: Is it time to merge the Hay River and NWT health authorities?



Meetings between union bargainers and Hay River health members were being scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

This marks the second strike vote called by the union for the same set of workers since July.

The first strike vote led to the unusual situation of a strike being declared but not carried out while Hay River was evacuated because of a wildfire. The labour board later ruled that strike had been declared illegally.