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Union and Hay River health authority reach tentative deal

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The Union of Northern Workers says a "tentative agreement" has been reached on a new collective agreement for workers at the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority.

While deals with the territorial government and NWT Power Corporation were reached earlier in the year, terms between the union and Hay River's health authority were only recently agreed.

"We are pleased to report that after two years of protracted and sometimes difficult collective bargaining, we have reached a tentative agreement with the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority," the union told members on June 12.

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"Your bargaining team is unanimously recommending acceptance of the
new agreement," added the union. The agreement must still be ratified by the membership.

The union said the deal contained "many improvements," including wage increases of 6.4 percent before compounding over its five-year term, and an increase of $250 to the northern allowance.

The past collective agreement expired at the end of March 2016, meaning this deal will last until early 2021.

Hay River Health and Social Services Authority made no immediate comment.

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Though overshadowed by a threatened territorial government strike involving thousands of people, the health authority's bargaining process was not without turbulent moments.

In January, three members of the union's local bargaining team said they had been removed from their roles by the union after trying to reach an agreement with their employer.

Three replacements were elected later that month, and a strike vote was postponed.

Earlier this month, Hay River North MLA RJ Simpson said a shortage of staff at the town's health centre in April and May had further "eroded public confidence" in the service.