Yellowknife Gymnastics Club is closing Saturday after the union called for labor measures at the facility

The Yellowknife Gymnastics Club course attached to the multiplex.  (Submitted by Yellowknife Gymnastics Club - photo credit)

The Yellowknife Gymnastics Club course attached to the multiplex. (Submitted by Yellowknife Gymnastics Club – photo credit)

The Yellowknife gymnastics club appeared to have escaped the general shutdown of services and clubs across the city after a strike began Wednesday.

A non-profit organization runs the club from its own gym. But those facilities are part of the Yellowknife Multiplex, a city sports complex that will be closed during the strike. The gymnastics club continued to operate with a separate entrance.

But now the club plans to close for the day Saturday. The club president said he saw a union internal memo ordering striking workers to form a strike line near the club’s location.

“We received a copy of a memo that was circulating from a member of the union asking that people show up to strike at the multiplex on Saturday with the express intention of closing our gymnastics club,” the gymnastics club president said. Steve Thompson.

CBC reviewed the memo.

It reads in part: “Opportunity for more strike pay!!!

The memo appears to have been sent from a Public Service Alliance of Canada email address.

The memo went on to say that pickets were to begin at 8 a.m

“When we got that, we didn’t want to put our members at risk or danger,” Thompson said. “So…in the interest of safety and not to show support for either side, we’re going to shut it down.”

Thompson said the closure comes at an unfortunate time. The club has been struggling financially since the pandemic lockdown and if the club had to start refunding program funds it would be very difficult for the club.

“If this goes on for too long, it could mean we have to close our doors,” Thompson said.

Thompson says the gym club owns its own space and has its own washrooms and entrances, so it doesn’t have to use anything on the city-owned side of the facility.

Thompson said he hopes the contract dispute will be resolved soon and asked members to be patient.

“We’re not taking sides in the situation,” he said. “We are working closely with the city and their staff on a number of things that we need to do as we are affiliated with the multiplex.”

A regional PSAC coordinator responded to the CBC’s request for comment via email.

“The union will picket peacefully at the street entrances to the multiplex and fieldhouse,” said Daniel Kinsella. “These pickets will provide city workers with a respectful opportunity to interact with fellow Yellowknifers and educate them about the issues.”

According to Kinsella, the union has reached out to members of the Gymnastics Board “to explain our desire to maintain a good relationship with the Yellowknife Gymnastics Club and all other Yellowknife sports and community organizations affected by this labor action.”

Kinsella did not specify when the union had called.

Many workers in the city of Yellowknife have been on strike since Wednesday morning. The union and administration are at an impasse over wages, but negotiations are expected to resume on Monday.


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