Move over rover, let PSAC take over
NEU’s parent appoints administrator to run union
The Nunavut Employees Union’s powerful parent organization, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, swooped down on the union’s Iqaluit office last week, shunting its elected executive to one side and launching a “full review” of the NEU’s internal operations.
PSAC’s national board of directors made the decision late in the afternoon of June 13, then told NEU members about it in a letter sent out June 20, from Nycole Turmel, PSAC’s national president.
“Questions have surfaced with regard to NEU’s ability to implement convention decisions and fully represent members,” Turmel’s letter said.
She said John Gordon, PSAC’s executive vice-president, has been appointed as an administrator to oversee the NEU’s affairs and do the review.
“The decision of the PSAC National Board of Directors was not an easy one to make, but a full review of the internal affairs of NEU is needed to ensure that NEU-PSAC members are properly represented,” Turmel said.
When contacted about the turmoil within his union last week, NEU president Doug Workman said he “can’t make an official comment.”
But Workman did say that he’s “grateful that PSAC is there to help us.”
As for the status of the NEU’s elected executive, including its president, that’s still unclear. Turmel’s letter said the union’s executive will “remain in place during this time,” at least until John Gordon submits his report on the NEU.
“We all hope… that the review will conclude that the NEU executive members can fully resume their normal responsibilities to the union,” her letter said.
But she also said PSAC won’t make any decision “on the next steps” until after the review is done.
Jean-François Des Lauriers, PSAC’s northern region vice president, said last week that it’s “an internal affair of the union,” and also offered no comment, except to say that there is “no impropriety.”
The NEU represents about half of all Nunavut residents who hold jobs, including most GN employees and most municipal and housing association employees. PSAC, its powerful parent, represents about 150,000 workers, mostly government employees.
Turmel said the internal review, which Gordon and other PSAC officials will conduct, will include these issues:
the signing of union membership cards;
the implementation by the NEU executive of decisions made at the union’s convention;
representation provided to members who file grievances with their employer;
the NEU’s finances;
the bargaining of collective agreements;
the process for electing members to the NEU convention.