FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Iqaluit, August 24, 2022
Negotiations for a new collective agreement between Public Service Alliance of Canada/Nunavut Employees Union (PSAC/NEU) and the Iqaluit Housing Authority (IHA) broke down on Thursday, August 18, 2022. The parties reached an impasse in bargaining after the IHA refused to withdraw concessionary demands that would have resulted in significant losses to member rights and threats to their subsistence.
The Union and the Employer scheduled four days to bargain (https://psacnorth.com//psac-neu-rolls-out-the-collective-bargaining-process-with-the-iqaluit-housing-authority). However, by the third day of negotiations, it was evident that it would be impossible to reach a deal. PSAC/NEU bargaining team, with the complete support of the membership, strongly rejected the IHA’s concessionary demands, despite employer’s threats of retaliation if an agreement was not reached by the end of this week.
The employer package included the following concessions:
- A threat that there would be no retro pay if a tentative agreement was not to be reached during that week and/or if the Union exercised its legal right to file for conciliation;
- A five (5) year agreement with economic increases significantly below the inflation rates for Iqaluit;
- Removal of the articles on Settlement Allowance, Housing Allowance and Vacation Travel Assistance to transition to a Nunavut Northern Allowance, the rates of which are lower than the combined maximum available under the existing allowances;
- Removal of access to a number of important provisions for casual employees, including: sick leaves, special leave credits, acting pay, seniority, time off for union business, among other provisions;
- Reductions of entitlements for casual employees including vacation, among others;
- Removal of access for term employees to maternity leave allowance, severance pay, layoff and job security provisions, and other types of leave, among others;
- The implementation of automatic rent deduction from the employees’ paycheck; and
- Employer discretion to provide partially or fully subsidized housing to new employees coming from outside of Iqaluit, while current employees are unable to access those benefits.
PSAC/NEU team have always approached negotiations with a willingness to engage in discussions and with a focus on solving problems at the workplace. However, the employer’s proposals, which seem to be mandated by the Nunavut Housing Corporation (NHC), reflect a total disregard for employees and for positive labour relations.
“It’s about time for NHC to rethink their approach to negotiations,” says NEU President Jason Rochon. “They’re putting the subsistence of their predominantly Inuit employees and their families in jeopardy. Our members, and our team, are strong and resilient. We will not accept substandard working conditions.”
A threatening pattern has been established in bargaining with NHC sponsored housing associations/authorities across Nunavut in recent years, making it clear that this public agency of the Government of Nunavut is behind it.
“To all members, I want to say that PSAC North has your back,” says PSAC North Regional Executive Vice President Lorraine Rousseau. “PSAC/NEU bargaining team is strong, and members will not be intimidated to accept any unfair deal.”
For media inquiries, contact:
Regional Political Communications Officer