North

Union of Northern Workers removes executives from Yellowknife branch after they fail to meet bylaws

The three volunteer executives for the Local 1 union, which represents 800 government employees in the N.W.T., have been removed because they weren't holding required meetings or keeping up financial records.

UNW president says the 3 volunteers weren't holding required meetings, keeping up financial records

Todd Parsons, the president of the Union of Northern Workers, says the local failed to meet the bylaws of the UNW. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

The three volunteer executives for the Local 1 union, which represents 800 government employees in the Northwest Territories, have been removed after failing to meet union bylaw requirements.

The Local 1 is a branch of the Union of Northern Workers (UNW). Todd Parsons, the union's president, said there are a number of reasons why the executives were removed, including failing to keep meeting minutes, failing to hold the required number of meetings, and failing to properly complete financial reporting.

"As many of our activists and Local officers are volunteers, sometimes they have challenges completing the requirements of our bylaws and regulations," said Parsons.

"We saw that the Local 1 was struggling."

The N.W.T. government and the UNW have been deadlocked over a new collective agreement for the past two years. Two weeks ago, Parsons announced that 70 per cent of respondents voted in favour of a strike.

The Local 1, which is part of that deadlock, is specifically responsible for all territorial government employees in Yellowknife, except for those working at the hospital, the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission as well as within two territorial government departments — Infrastructure and Justice.

The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, the Yellowknife Housing Authority as well as the Commission scolaire francophone (non-teachers) are also represented by the Local 1 union. The Local also represents some employees of the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority.

Placed under trusteeship

Now that the Local 1 executives have been removed, the UNW has placed it under trusteeship. Three trustees are now in control of the Local, and they will work to put together a plan to "make the union thrive," said Parsons.

Parsons said employees represented by the Local may notice less political activity and fewer Local meetings, but more of a union presence by the trustees.

He said the trustees are meeting with members to see what their concerns are, and the union is holding an information session for Local 1 members on May 14 at 5:30 p.m. Parsons says this is another chance to hear concerns from union members.

There are different ways the Local could return to normal, including voting in new executive representatives, or breaking the Local into smaller, more manageable Locals. The current Local contains between 60 and 80 work sites.

Parsons said another one of the union's goals over the next three years is to have a union steward at each of those work sites.

Corrections

  • This story has been corrected to accurately reflect the territorial government employees represented by the Local 1.
    May 10, 2018 9:56 AM CT

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