Bill Fennell elected president of Nunavut Employees Union
A former social worker was elected president of the Nunavut Employees Union Thursday during its convention in Iqaluit.
Fennell beat out two other candidates: John Vander Velde and Maureen Doherty.
Bill Fennell says a priority will be to oppose pension changes under the proposed Nunavut Employee Benefits Program, and to increase the union's public presence.
"We've heard in this convention loud and clear that the members want us out in the communities," he said.
Tracy Oram, president of the union's local six in Iqaluit, was elected first vice-president.
"We need to get into the communities to talk to our members, even if that means going in and breaking down some of our locals to smaller locals to make them better represented," she said.
Fennell replaces outgoing president Doug Workman, who recently announced he was retiring.
Workman says the union has some challenges to face, including mobilizing its membership for negotiations with Qulliq Energy and the Government of Nunavut.
"We need a supportive membership to overcome what they're offering us, and they're not offering us very much at this point,” Workman says.
Workman says he'd also like to see active occupational health and safety in every unionized workplace.
Fennell will serve three years as president.