Both sides quiet as Iqaluit Housing Authority labour dispute nears one-week mark

Housing authority hasn’t said how it will provide maintenance during work stoppage; no details from union on wages

Striking workers and union officials are shown outside the Iqaluit Housing Authority office. From left, Paul Gordon, NEU president Jason Rochon, Kenny Enuaraq, Geela Kango, Joanasie Kilabuk, Ken Braun, Tracey Curley and Public Service Alliance of Canada representatives Laneydi Martinez Alfonso and Mary Anne Walker. (Photo courtesy of the Nunavut Employees Union)

By Meral Jamal

With its unionized workers on the picket line for close to a week now, the Iqaluit Housing Authority assures tenants it’s still maintaining the 540 units it manages in the city, but won’t explain how that’s happening.

Meanwhile, the union still won’t tell the public exactly what it wants from the authority in order to reach a settlement in contract talks and return to work.

Thirteen workers at the housing authority, who are represented by the Nunavut Employees Union, went on strike last Friday. Then they were formally locked out by the housing authority on Sunday.

The two sides have been unable to reach a new collective agreement, despite a mediator being brought in last fall. Their previous collective agreement expired in June 2020.

Negotiations stalled and workers say they are striking over wages, as well as concessions to existing sick leave and vacation time the union said the housing authority wants.

The NEU said members are especially seeking “fairer wages” — above the 1.25 per cent and 1.5 per cent it said the housing authority proposed when negotiations were taking place. But the union has not confirmed the exact wage increase it is seeking through the new collective agreement.

For its part, the housing authority has not to publicly explained how it is providing maintenance services to residents in public housing while workers are off the job.

Assistant manager Kendra King has only confirmed the authority “has taken steps to ensure that all essential services will be maintained during this labour dispute,” in an emailed statement to Nunatsiaq News on Monday.

The two sides agreed that one position, the oil burner mechanic, would be deemed essential and ineligible to strike.

Neither the union nor the housing authority responded to Nunatsiaq News’ request for comment on Wednesday.

Unionized workers began striking outside the housing authority’s office on Sivumugiaq Street (formerly known as Federal Road) in Iqaluit on Friday. They have been on the picket line between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day.

The NEU said the 13 workers who are striking are receiving strike pay. The union did not disclose how much strike pay the workers are receiving, or how much money is in its strike fund.


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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Lol on

    Heard they want 50% increase 🤪

    • Posted by Right on

      Sounds about right.

  2. Posted by John K on

    We’re all used to not getting any updates from housing.

  3. Posted by Anonymous on

    Strike for what?! To keep driving around town on NHC expenses??? They’re making sure inuit are homeless and abandoned!!! Spreading rumors and gossip. NHC, including, GN housing staff makes sure inuit look bad and they want more money to get that done! Pathetic 🤬

    • Posted by Anonymously on

      You lost me after the first question.

  4. Posted by Ben Decko on

    I hope that the local By-Law are ready to tumble with riot gear on and hockey sticks.🤘

  5. Posted by Who Is Doing The Maintenance? on

    So, normally I’d expect to see management out doing the work during a strike.

    Is that happening in this case? Are the management qualified?

Comments are closed.