The BHP Employees Association wants an apology from Steve Peterson.

Peterson is an official with the Northern Territories Federation of Labour. In a column that appeared in a Yellowknife newspaper last week, Peterson alleges BHP Diamonds helped form the employees association. The Association wants to represent workers at the Ekati diamond mine.

The United Steelworkers of America also made a bid to organize workers.

Gerry Oliver says he's heard Peterson's accusations before - and they're not true. "The only thing we want from him is a public apology," he says. "BHP has nothing to do with us. They're not talking to us until we're certified. They're not giving us any help moneywise. Everything is coming out of our pockets. It makes us look bad by him saying we're in bed with the company when we have nothing to do with the company. Our members tell the executive what we do and that's what we're doing."

A letter from the association's lawyer gives Peterson until the end of the week to retract parts of his column.

Oliver says he hopes to hear whether the association has been certified to represent BHP workers within the next couple of weeks.