Potential strike looming for Town staff

Hay River’s Town staff may be walking out on their jobs after discussions broke off with the Union of Northern Workers last month.
Town employees voted 96 per cent in favour of a strike if the current negotiations failed to produce an agreement.
The vote was held on March 8 but talks didn’t officially break down until March 18.

Staff could walk off the job on April 26.
Kim Tybring is a member of the bargaining team who works under the department of Public Works, and he remains optimistic that some compromise will still be made.
“We are still pretty hopeful that the town will come back to the bargaining table,” he said.
“Personally, I am very hopeful. I don’t see us being all that far apart.”
Tybring said that the members of the union received a letter from Mayor Kelly Schofield, requesting that they accept the final offer before them.
Tybring hopes that the final offer is still a bargaining tool.
According to a press release from the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the union moved on a few issues but the wages conflict was still unsolved.
“The final wage offer was for a three-year deal with annual increases of 2 per cent, 2.25 per cent and 2.5 per cent,” said the release.
The union stated that those increases are “still far below what we think is reasonable.”
The offer also had no increase to pensions, but it was offered to increase a pension by taking it off the wages offered.
“This isn’t good enough,” stated the release.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Regional Executive Vice-President Jean-Francois Des Lauriers said that the vote result reflects the feelings of the 40 PSAC members employed by the Town of Hay River.
“The Bargaining Team only met for one two-day bargaining session before the employer broke off and told us to apply for conciliation,” he said in a release.
“We are hoping to reach a deal with assistance of a Concilation Officer but this will take some movement on management’s part.”
A spokesperson for the town could not be reached by the Hub’s press time.