Employees of the Hamlet of Arctic Bay gave their Union overwhelming support for a strike mandate after a meeting was held in the Nunavut community during the week of October 24th. Nearly all the 20 Hamlet employees attended the vote and showed strong support for the Bargaining Team.
Conciliation talks began that same week with a Federal Government official in attendance. Key unresolved issues include wage increases that keep up with inflation, the treatment of casual employees and the Nunavut Northern Allowance received by Hamlet of Arctic Bay employees.
“We just want fairness,” said Bargaining Team member Richard Bohlender. “We want an end to the misuse and unfair treatment of casual employees - and to be properly compensated for our hard work, just like Hamlet employees in Pond Inlet and Resolute Bay as well as Arctic Bay Government of Nunavut employees are.”
Hamlet employees in Arctic Bay receive a Northern Allowance of less than $8,000 per year. Government of Nunavut employees working in the same municipality enjoy a Northern Allowance of $24,500 per year. Hamlet workers in the neighboring community of Pond Inlet receive more than $24,000 per year and in Resolute Bay, those working for that Hamlet receive more than $26,000 annually in Northern Allowance.
“We strive to ensure that all our Members are compensated and treated fairly for the important services they provide to the communities that they live in,” says William Fennell, President of the Nunavut Employees Union (NEU). “We will work with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and our Members in Arctic Bay to ensure that they are supported through the entire process that will work towards a fair and equitable outcome.”
Hamlet or Arctic Bay employees provide core municipal services and include truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, waste service personnel, Heritage Centre staff, mechanics, water delivery personnel and administrative workers.
“The Hamlet workers have been clear in their direction. PSAC North supports their effort to seek fair conditions from an employer that has been violating the Collective Agreement for quite some time,” said Jack Bourassa, Regional Executive Vice President of PSAC North. “I look forward to working with Hamlet employees to find a resolution and avoid disruptions to people who rely on these services.”
The Collective Agreement expired on December 31, 2016, and the parties have had one previous round of bargaining. During that bargaining session, the Hamlet offered a zero percent, a one percent and another one percent increase in a three-year deal with only a modest improvement in the Northern Allowance.
Communications Officer -
Nunavut Employees Union