Whitehorse city workers give notice of possible strike Monday
About 300 unionized workers could walk off the job if a deal is not reached over the weekend
The City of Whitehorse's unionized workers have given notice of a possible strike starting 8 a.m. Monday, if a deal with the city is not reached over the weekend.
The city says it would involve approximately 300 workers represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
They would join the 34 unionized transit workers in labour action. Those workers — most of them city bus drivers — have been on a work-to-rule campaign since Mar. 19. The union intends to "escalate" that action on Monday morning as well, the city says.
Negotiations between PSAC and the city are scheduled to continue this weekend, with the help of a mediator.
"We will be working, if need be, 24 hours a day to get a collective agreement," said Steve Geick, president of the Yukon Employees Union which represents city workers.
"We are hopeful that we can get a deal at the bargaining table and avert [a strike], this weekend."
Geick says the main issues are severance pay, and long-term service bonuses for new employees. He says cancelling long-term service bonuses for new employees would create a "two-tiered system within the group — some have, some don't."
City spokesperson Myles Dolphin says an essential services agreement is in place with the union, in case of a strike next week. He says the list of essential services is being finalized, and will be available to residents this weekend, on the city's website.
"We'll be finalizing what that list looks like, what will be available and will not be available for residents in event of a strike Monday morning," Dolphin said.
Whitehorse firefighters are part of a different union, and would not be involved in any labour disruption.