Tentative agreement between Nunavut employee union, PSAC and Nunavut gov't now ratified

·2 min read
Jason Rochon is the president of the Nunavut Employees Union. (Jacqueline McKay/CBC - image credit)
Jason Rochon is the president of the Nunavut Employees Union. (Jacqueline McKay/CBC - image credit)

The tentative agreement between the Nunavut Employees Union (NEU), the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the government of Nunavut (GN) has been ratified, according to a joint news release from the two unions.

The agreement, which was initially reached in March, affects more than 4,000 Nunavut government employees. It came into effect on July 11 and expires Sept. 30, 2024.

A lump sum payment of $3,500 will be coming for indeterminate, term and casual employees (pro-rated for part-time employees) within 30 days of ratification, according to the agreement document.

There will also be retroactive payment on all hours worked by all employees during the term of the agreement, the document indiactes.

"I think what we learned is no deal is perfect, but we always need to work on better," said Jason Rochon, president of the NEU.

"I heard a lot of issues and a lot of concerns [from members], and I took those, we have notes made, we're going to be looking at doing input differently ... I want to make sure that the collective agreement is reflective."

The previous contract expired over three years ago.

The release says NEU and PSAC travelled to nearly all the communities in the territory to hear from members and allow them to vote on the tentative agreement.

Earlier this year, PSAC and NEU called on the government to provide workers with "stable jobs, fair wages, and northern allowances that keep up with rising costs," the release says.

"Challenges posed by travel and connectivity didn't prevent us from conducting votes and hearing from as many members as possible," says PSAC north regional executive vice president Lorraine Rousseau in a statement.

"I want to thank all members for their patience. It took a long time, but you've always been here for Nunavut with your tireless work and dedication."

Rousseau told CBC News she isn't authorized to say what the voter turnout on the ratification vote by members was, but that the number could be released later on. She added some of the voting was done virtually and that those were "well attended."

The communities they couldn't reach in-person included Coral Harbour, Naujaat, Chesterfield Inlet, Sanikiluaq and Arviat.

Some of the "gains" from the deal Rousseau said include retro-incremental raises, and consideration for various forms of leaves including for hunting (now two paid days leave, rather than unpaid) and for domestic violence (five days paid and five days unpaid).

The Nunavut government said in a news release Tuesday that a formal signing will take place, then more details about the deal will be released.

"I congratulate the Nunavut Employees Union and look forward to continuing the good work achieved through bargaining and continued cooperation as we move forward", said Minister of Human Resources Margaret Nakashuk in a statement.

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