Union files grievance over Yukon govt's mandatory vaccine policy

The Yukon Employees' Union filed a grievance against the government over concerns about its mandatory vaccination policy. 

The government 'failed to consider less invasive alternatives,' Yukon Employees' Union argues

Steve Geick, the president of the Yukon Employees' Union. The union filed a grievance against the Yukon government's mandatory vaccination policy last week. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

The Yukon Employees' Union filed a grievance against the territorial government over concerns about its mandatory vaccination policy. 

The union filed the grievance challenging the "arbitrary nature of the announcement" and the government's "failure to consider less invasive alternatives" including any exceptions for those who cannot get vaccinated due to health reasons, according to an internal letter sent to union members. 

"YEU is not budging," the letter continues. "This employer must respect its workers. We will not agree to any mandate that is punitive in practice." 

CBC News reached out to Steve Geick, the president of the Yukon Employees' Union, for comment but did not receive a reply before publication. 

On Oct. 15, the Yukon government announced that all public service employees and those who work for non-government organizations must have two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by November 30. 

Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon says the lack of consultation from the Yukon government on their vaccination policy is very concerning. (Julien Gignac/CBC)

The union accuses the government of rushing ahead with the vaccination policy without having a plan. 

Currie Dixon, the leader of the opposition, takes that same stance. 

"The lack of information on this is concerning," he told reporters after Monday's session in the Legislative Assembly. "We've heard from employees that this decision has cast a shadow over the territory." 

John Streicker, the territory's minister of the public service commission, acknowledged that there are still "some details to work out" with the union and other groups. 

He said the policy is another example of how the government is taking direction and advice from the chief medical officer of health. 

John Streicker, minister of the public service commission, says there are still some details to work out on the mandatory vaccination plan, but that he's willing to work on them with the union. (Julien Gignac/CBC)

"Those [public health] recommendations have always been about how to protect the health and wellness of Yukoners," Streicker said. "I think that's their job and I think that's what they gave to us."

Streicker said he will review the vaccination date to make sure public servants have enough time to get vaccinated.