Hay River's health centre. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
The union representing Hay River health workers says a “tentative agreement” has been reached with the town’s health authority.
Negotiations toward a new collective agreement had appeared to be heading for strike action. After an earlier strike declaration was ruled unlawful by Canada’s labour board, the Union of Northern Workers said earlier this month workers had backed a second strike vote.
But in a message on its website dated October 19, the union stated: “We are happy to inform you that your union bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with the HRHSSA late last night.
“We did this together – it was your unwavering support that got us where we are today, and we are so grateful to you.
“We are now in the process of wrapping up the administrative details and planning ratification vote meetings.”
Erin Griffiths, the Hay River health authority’s chief executive, confirmed by email that a tentative deal had been reached on Wednesday.
Previously, the union had said it was asking the health authority to match any economic increases, bonuses or other allowances negotiated for GNWT workers – who are in a different bargaining unit – between 2023 and 2025. The UNW said the health authority had agreed to match “general economic increases” for GNWT employees but not any further bonuses or allowances.
The health authority has since said it was already offering to match any signing bonus negotiated for GNWT workers “on a bargaining unit-wide basis,” but could not make blanket promises about matching all GNWT bonuses and allowances agreed in years ahead.
“The HRHSSA could not agree to this. The HRHSSA does not know what this entails, or could possibly include,” the health authority said, using an initialism for its full name.
“The union is fighting over benefits that do not exist and may never exist. The HRHSSA cannot agree to a proposal about undefined benefits that do not even exist yet, and may never exist.”
Neither the union nor the health authority have provided more detail regarding the contents of the tentative agreement reached this week.