GN and employees union head back to the bargaining table

Negotiations toward new contract to resume on Monday

Nunavut Employees Union president Jason Rochon, pictured here, is travelling to all of Nunavut’s 25 communities to hold information sessions and voting on the union’s new tentative agreement with the Government of Nunavut. (File photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Bargaining teams from the Government of Nunavut and the Nunavut Employees Union are set to get back to work towards a new collective agreement.

The GN’s collective agreement with the NEU, which determines wages and benefits for more than 4,000 GN employees, expired at the end of September 2018. It remains in place while the two sides negotiate a new contract.

Bargaining will resume on Monday, NEU President Jason Rochon confirmed in an email.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” he said in his statement.

Outstanding issues for the union include salary increases and the Nunavut Northern Allowance, and negotiating a new provision for paid domestic violence leave for employees, Rochon said.

“What we are hoping has changed is the government’s commitment to approaching these talks in good faith and with a willingness to try to reach a fair agreement on these issues.”

In October, the union accused the government of bad-faith bargaining after it obtained court documents that showed the GN knew about a miscalculation it had made in part of its offer to the union.

The GN, in turn, said the union had rejected an offer without meeting with the government’s bargaining team.

Both parties have said they cannot discuss specifics of offers made or what is being negotiated until a deal is reached.

The two sides have also said they were waiting for the other side to come back to the bargaining table.

Since then, Rochon was elected NEU president and, following a territorial election, Adam Lightstone was named the new minister of human resources.

The bargaining teams are set to meet on Feb. 21, the same day the legislative assembly reconvenes for its first sitting of the year.

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(22) Comments:

  1. Posted by OLIVER TWIST on

    Please sir , I want some ($$$$$) more.

  2. Posted by Please Consider Striking on

    The NEU should really consider seeking a strike mandate of members. This agreement has been outstanding for nearly an entire other term. It is disrespectful to employees. It is costing us thousands of dollars in inflation, while the GN gets an interest free loan. Most people do not understand that most employees have had between 4 and 5 figures of income withheld because the Department of HR simply refused to talk, used COVID-19 as an excuse, and the NEU has not used a strike threat for some reason. For my salary, it is over $10,000 on wages alone. Add $5000 to the yearly Northern allowance if they increase it from 2010 era numbers and it is nearly much, much more.

    • Posted by Support Strike on

      I would agree with a Strike mandate. However, lets give this new president a chance. If negotiations become stalled once again or drag on forever and he doesn’t call a strike vote, then we know he is as useless as the last president.

    • Posted by Don on

      I totally agree if there is not retro pay on the table from the Gn then that should be the end of bargains and a strike vote should be called

    • Posted by Y’all got any more of that interest? on

      I ran the numbers on my retro as well, based on the NTA agreement, and it was also into the 5 figures. For many employees, the GN is essentially withholding $10,000 from you, interest free.
      Wonder how long it will take them to come up with a new agreement starting Oct 1, 2022, since this upcoming agreement will be expired by the time it’s done.

  3. Posted by Annie Filipee on

    GN better start getting real.

  4. Posted by Corina A on

    I want the government to treat us better and start valuing us. It will be 4 years the Fall. Enough excuses.

  5. Posted by Beleaver on

    NEU shares half the blame and uses Covid-19 as an excuse too. There are other NEU members with expired Collective Agreements other than GN employees.

  6. Posted by David Kaosoni on

    Let’s hope for an agreement.

  7. Posted by anonymous on

    To this day for years, I can remember a local union rep went to a bargaining table to discuss special and sick leave credits be paid out to GN employees who either resigned or retired -that twice it got turned down.

  8. Posted by Justin Reynolds on

    We want a deal. It will be 4 years of the GN not respecting us. I’m working not just my job but when coworkers quit they leave the jobs empty. It makes it so hard to be happy at the GN.

    • Posted by Don on

      I agree people are leaving in large numbers and not getting replaced, the GN has become a pretty bad place to work, the people that are left are trying to fill other shoes at the same time, people are getting burnt out, salaries have not kept up with the rest of Canada.

      • Posted by CSA Scam on

        You cover for two positions while being on a never ending CSA so they can get rid of you when they feel like it and withhold parental leave benefits.

        • Posted by Scrint on

          You got a CSA? Lucky! I had a CSA for a while… Gave me some benefits and stability. Then, after the NEU negotiated a new collective agreement, I and many other colleagues arrived at work, only to be handed letters saying we were now a new thing called “relief” employees. We have zero benefits, zero vacation data, we don’t get paid extra to work holidays and we have no stability, even though my schedule stayed the same. Thanks NEU!

  9. Posted by MILTON webster on

    GN has no problem raising gas prices and making it harder to hunt and provide for our families. How do we pay for all the increases.

    • Posted by Hmmm on

      Lowest fuel cost in Canada, one of the lowest tax brackets high social and income assistance, free Skidoos, no work requirements….

      What were you saying again, where do you come from? Can’t be Nunavut

      • Posted by Add it all up, hmm? on

        Freight for renovations costing more than an additional 25% on top of the overall price of renovations in the South, which is already counting a higher cost of labour, hmmm…
        Using expensive oil to heat your house instead of inexpensive natural gas, so your heating bill is $5,000 per year instead of $1,500, hmmm…
        How about the freight bill of $200 to bring in a $350 generator, hmm…
        $4K to ship a truck in, only for it to be shaken to bits by the roads, hmm…
        Pay 4 times as much to insure a house here than in the south, hmmm….

  10. Posted by Manapik on

    I vote every time there is an election. To the current Government of Nunavut elected officials, remember we can vote you out…lots of union members can vote for someone else, and you need us, more than we need you.

  11. Posted by Solidarity Forever on

    Dear NEU negotiating team:
    Please read section 13 “Liabilities for Pension and other Employee Benefits” on pages 37 and 38 of the GN Public Accounts for 2020-2021.
    It was tabled by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on November 19, 2021.
    You can find it at
    It is TD-006-6(1).
    On both of those pages it clearly states: “increases in remuneration of 3% (2020 – 3%).”
    That should be the minimum increase for past years. Inflation is now 4.8% and going up.
    I expect you to get significantly more than that for us for future years of the contract. Why should the GN pay more than inflation? It’s simple. Our pay is “before taxes”, but our expenses are “after taxes”. For those of us who have an effective income tax rate of 20%, a 3% increase before taxes becomes a 2.4% increase after taxes.

    • Posted by Wow on

      Great point.

  12. Posted by Confused on

    A counter proposal was made by the GN 🙁

  13. Posted by John K on

    Finalizing a home sale and purchase in Ontario and then we’re out of here for good.

    If I’m going to be mistreated and disrespected no matter what then I’ll do it where I have access to civilization.

    I do three people’s job right now; the next person will be stuck doing four.

Comments are closed.