Yellowknife City workers still haven’t voted on a new collective bargaining agreement
Yellowknife City Council read a first reading on Thursday of a bylaw that would set up a new collective agreement with striking city workers, but the second and third readings cannot take place until union members vote on the tentative deal — and that hasn’t happened yet.
At a city council meeting Monday afternoon, Mayor Rebecca Alty said the council will meet again Friday at 8:30 a.m. and then take a break until members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Local X0345 discuss the proposed agreement decide by vote.
“We cannot move on to second and third readings until members vote on them and members have not voted on them yet,” she said.
The Council will meet again after the vote at a time to be determined tomorrow.
“We’re still groping in the dark”
It has been four days since the city of Yellowknife announced it had reached an interim settlement with the PSAC, which represents the majority of city workers.
The city council initially wanted to carry out the preliminary agreement on Tuesday in the first, second and third readings. This meeting was moved to Wednesday and then moved to Thursday. Now the second and third readings have been postponed again.
Details of the preliminary agreement were not released.
According to a city worker on the picket line Thursday, members are still waiting to find out what’s in the tentative deal.
“We haven’t seen the contract that is being proposed to us,” said Daryl Snow. “So yeah, we’re still groping in the dark.”
Snow said union members are waiting for the city and the union to iron out the details of a return-to-work agreement.
“As soon as they ratify the back-to-work protocols, we will vote – hopefully tomorrow morning,” he said.
Snow said he and the other pickets outside City Hall were optimistic but also “nervous” about hearing details about the agreement.
“And I’m sure the public is getting concerned to go back to their facilities and go back to the dump and get rid of their cardboard and stuff,” he said.
Around 205 unionized city workers have been on strike for the past five weeks. The contract dispute has focused on wages.
The union’s latest proposal called for a 3.75 percent wage increase for 2022 and a further 3.75 percent increase for 2023.
The city has not publicly backed down from its original offer of 2 percent for 2022 and 2 percent for 2023.
PSAC did not immediately respond to CBC’s request for an interview.