No plans to strike before mediation, says UNW president

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Union of Northern Workers president Todd Parsons said in an interview Wednesday that there are no plans for territorial government employees to strike before mediation talks in February.

Kevin Butt (second from left) and Lisa Hann (third from right) lead UNW practice picketers across the street outside of the Youth Offender Facility at North Slave Correctional in frigid temperatures Jan. 9. Union president Todd Parsons vows the union won’t strike before mediation talks in February. NNSL file photo

“We have no plans to start a strike before mediation,” Parsons said.

The bargaining unit for the union and the GNWT will meet for scheduled mediation talks on Feb. 8 and 9.

The UNW president said he is confident in the bargaining positions that they will be presenting to the employer and will continue to put pressure on the GNWT until then.

“We will continue to bargain in good faith, but we will not roll over on key issues and will continue our campaign of pressure,” Parsons said.

Their continuing pressure will consist of more pop-up picket practices, the mobilization of membership and being vocal about the dispute.

This statement comes as tensions mount between the union and GNWT after the government reportedly declined to agree to binding arbitration the day after releasing a document that disclosed the governments position on pay raises earlier this week.

“The release of that document this week suggest that they are in the mood to provoke us,” Parsons said.

The union has repeatedly called this document “misleading” and full of “falsehoods” while the GNWT insists the document is factual.

“I would caution them against those types of provocations because we are in a legal position to strike.”

According to Parsons “approximately 70 per cent” of polled members were in favour of striking. There is no minimum percentage of approving votes required for the union to call a strike.

 

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