Housing authority releases proposal before striking workers hold rally

Offer includes includes wage increase, lump sum payment but NEU president says IHA needs to do better

The Iqaluit Housing Authority released a new proposal to striking housing workers, who are seen here. The new proposal needs to be better, Nunavut Employees Union president Jason Rochon said. (File photo)

By David Lochead

A day before the Nunavut Employees Union is to hold a rally for its striking housing workers, the Iqaluit Housing Authority released a statement with its most recent proposal aimed at ending the 10-week-old labour dispute.

The proposal includes a slight wage increase over what had been included in an earlier proposal. The housing authority is now offering the 13 unionized workers a 7.25 per cent raise over a five-year period, the authority’s spokesperson Kendra King wrote in the statement.

The previous offer was seven per cent over a five-year period.

To address inflation, which has been one of the union’s concerns, King stated the Iqaluit Housing Authority is offering a lump sum payment of 3.5 per cent of a worker’s wage, once a new contract is ratified.

As well, the housing authority would switch to the Nunavut Northern Allowance, which would benefit 85 per cent of employees, King said.

She added the recent proposal was sent to the union May 18.

The housing authority also announced it has ended the lockout it imposed on the workers March 19, two days after the union went on strike.

“The IHA remains committed to negotiating a fair and competitive agreement with the union,” King said, adding it is ready to resume bargaining.

The contract between the housing authority and the union expired in June 2020. The two sides were trying to negotiate a new contract, but talks broke down in August 2022.

Union president Jason Rochon said the housing authority’s most recent proposal is not worth promoting to his members.

“They need to do a lot better,” he said.

Rochon said the proposed wage increase works out to less than two per cent each year. He added any lump sum for inflation should be put into wages.

He said his union is looking for a deal within the range of 2.5 per cent wage increase per year to start and the end of the deal being 3.5 per cent per year.

For the northern allowance, Rochon said workers should have the option to use the old system or go to Nunavut Northern Allowance. He also said there still needs to be compensation for workers speaking Inuktitut on the job.

For bargaining, Rochon said he wants face-to-face negotiations, instead of communicating through email.

By lifting the lockout, the housing authority is putting pressure on striking workers to cross the picket line, Rochon said.

Union members have planned to hold a rally Friday at the Aqsarniit Hotel, where the striking workers will be joined by other members of the union who work at different public sector workplaces, as well as by members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada coming from outside the territory.

Rochon said the housing authority releasing a statement now about its recent proposal is less about the rally the union is holding Friday and more about avoiding looking bad while the legislative assembly is in session.


Share This Story

(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by Why is it a secret on

    That secret market adjustment that the union is asking for, what is the percentage and why are they not revealing it to the public so that we can decide whether or not to stand behind the union?

  2. Posted by 867 on

    IHA knows the worth of their employees; their employees probably want to be paid the same as fully certified trades people. That is the disconnect.

  3. Posted by Umingmak on

    Notice that IHA released their entire offer, while the NEU continues to refuse to release their full list of demands.

    This offer seems more than reasonable – I’d even argue that it’s too generous given that the striking workers are mostly un-certified labourers who generally don’t have the skills to work independently.

    Good on IHA.

  4. Posted by Hunter on

    13 employees? Seriously?

    As the employer this should hardly make a dent in their operations and can just contract the services out and probably save a lot of money.


Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *