The Union of Northern Workers and the Northwest Territories government have begun negotiations on a new collective agreement.
In a joint press release on Friday, the government and union said they are “optimistic that by working together in good faith, a fair and reasonable agreement will be reached that balances the interests of both parties.”
The union’s existing agreement with the territorial government expired on March 31 this year. Though that agreement was only reached in 2019 and spanned five years, it was backdated to 2016, when the prior agreement had ended.
Even after they have expired, the terms of collective agreements continue to apply until a new deal is reached.
In 2019, negotiations between the union and territorial government nearly resulted in a strike before being called off as a mediator was asked to determine the terms of an agreement.
In a brief update on its website this month, the union said it served a bargaining notice to the territorial government in November. Formal negotiations began on Monday.
The Union of Northern Workers has 5,700 members who are employed by the territorial government, NWT Power Corporation, the Ekati diamond mine, municipal governments, housing authorities, and private contracting firms.
In 2019, the territorial government reported that it had 5,289 employees.