Iqaluit Housing Authority unionized workers begin strike

Workers have been without collective agreement since June 2020

Joanasie Kilabuk, a unionized maintenance worker with the Iqaluit Housing Authority since 2020, strikes outside his workplace Friday morning. (Photo by Meral Jamal)

By Meral Jamal

Nunavut Employees Union president Jason Rochon says Iqaluit Housing Authority employees hope to strike for roughly five hours each day — between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. — until the employer returns to negotiations. (Photo by Meral Jamal)

Roughly a dozen unionized workers from the Iqaluit Housing Authority are picketing outside their workplace.

Holding posters that said “Be Kind” and “Where’s the Funding,” the workers came out to Federal Road in -22 C weather Friday morning to protest a lack of a new collective agreement between themselves and their employer.

Their former collective agreement expired in June 2020 and negotiations for the new one broke down in August.

Nunavut Employees Union represents the workers in negotiations. Union president Jason Rochon said the employees hope to strike for about five hours each day — between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. — until their employer returns to the negotiating table.

The workers were served a lockout notice by the housing authority Wednesday, advising that a lockout would take effect as of Sunday.

ITK Job Opportunties, Senior Policy Advisor, MMIWG

Friday was the first day the union could legally strike, after serving 72-hour notice to the housing authority earlier this week.

“There’s an unwillingness to work with the union to get a fair deal and [the housing authority] follows that up with locking us out,” Rochon said.

“But we let them know that we’re willing to communicate or willing to negotiate. We’re willing to do the right thing, and we really want that they want to do the right thing to treat our workers fairly.”

Rochon said the workers want fair wages above the 1.25 per cent and 1.5 per cent increases proposed by the IHA, but wouldn’t say how much union is looking for. He said the priority right now is returning to the negotiating table.

No one was in the Iqaluit Housing Authority office Friday morning to provide comment for this story.

Share This Story

(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by Cabinet Roadblock on

    The only people who can offer more money to the strikers are the 8 cabinet ministers. No one else has authorization.

  2. Posted by Be kind? on

    How about Be kind to the tenants who call because something is broken and actually do something about it instead of just saying “well place a work order” which never gets done. Think the tenants are just as frustrated as IHA is. especially when you just see the same workers driving around all day doing there own personal business in work trucks

  3. Posted by Old fart on

    Most of the service calls and work orders are done by subcontractors anyways

  4. Posted by Iglu on

    Why is it that the union will not publicize the size of the wage increases (and other demands) that they are encouraging the workers to go after? Are those wage increases (and other demands) so large and outrageous that they are embarrassed to let the public know? Would be nice if they publicized that useful piece of information so that the public can decide which side to back.

  5. Posted by S on

    Even in the best-run private companies, productivity is around 85%. The average productivity in private industry is closer to 65%. That means a typical employee, at any level, gives less than 5 hours of work in a 7.5 hour work-day

    Within most government institutions, all-in productivity typically falls below 50%; so less than 4 hours’ work in a day. At GN it’s closer to 3 hours.

    For housing employees across Nunavut (operations and admin), less than 2 hours of work performed per employee per day is the norm.

    Makes me wonder if we shouldn’t just disrupt this systemic welfare state one institution at a time and shut down Housing Associations altogether.

    • Posted by Source? on

      Where did you get your stats for these claims?

    • Posted by Unrelated stats on

      And 25% of unionized workers consume 10% more or less ice cream than non unionized hokey players.

  6. Posted by Think About It on

    It blows my mind, the union is walking around with signs–“be kind” and “WTF Where’s the funding”. Exactly what do these have to do with the current situation. Really “be kind” how about not leaving someone’s broken window for two months, that would be kind. Where is the funding?, really what does the union think would be a reasonable number? Nunavut spends approx 200 million dollars on housing not including Capital growth. This is for only 5000+ units.

    • Posted by 2 months!? on

      If your housing authority fixes a broken window in 2 months that is great for nunavut standards. Most nunavut housing offices can’t even bother to fix broken windows or just put plywood up instead. What a mess!

  7. Posted by WTF on

    Maybe Jason should accept a 0% wage increase like he did for the GN.

Comments are closed.