No progress in mediation between Iqaluit Housing Authority, striking workers: Union

Bargaining team for workers met with authority representative and a mediator in Ottawa on Friday

Striking workers and community supporters stand outside the Iqaluit Housing Authority office near the Iqaluit airport Friday. The workers have been striking for a new collective agreement since March 17. (Photo by Meral Jamal)

By Meral Jamal

A meeting with a federal mediator in Ottawa Friday failed to move the Iqaluit Housing Authority and Nunavut Employees Union any closer to ending a work stoppage now in its 18th week, the union says.

The union took strike action on March 17 and two days later the housing authority locked out the striking workers.

A bargaining team for the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the NEU, which represents 13 striking employees, met with a representative of the housing authority and a federally appointed mediator in Ottawa Friday.

However, no progress was made according to the union, which said the housing authority representative refused a new offer put forth by the NEU.

The housing authority offered what the union called “a slight wage increase” in a future year, but it wasn’t enough to address the costs of living in Nunavut, the release said.

The mediation session, which was the first face-to face meeting between the two parties since the labour impasse began in March, lasted barely two hours, the union said.

The union did not confirm either the amount of wage increase it proposed or what the housing authority offered.

“We did have some hope that the first meeting in person might get us closer to reaching a fair agreement and we were willing to move on some of our positions to achieve that,” Nicky Nauyuk, a plumber with the housing authority and part of the union’s bargaining team, said in the release.

“But in just two hours, it became clear that the [Iqaluit Housing Authority] is not interested in reaching a fair deal or showing any respect to the IHA workers or the residents of IHA housing. It was incredibly disappointing and disrespectful,” Nauyuk added.

Monday marked the 127th day since the start of the strike, the union noted.

The union has said it is seeking improved working conditions, including wages that keep pace with inflation and housing benefits. The previous collective agreement expired on June 30, 2020.

The Iqaluit Housing Authority did not respond Monday to Nunatsiaq News’ request for comment about the meeting.


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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by 867 on

    Wow, Union needs to take the offer, whatever it is and stop thinking their workers are irreplaceable. this charade has gone on far too long. These are not jobs that deserve 6 figures. These are not jobs that require any expertise or advanced technical skills. Not happy with your pay? Go to college and get the qualifications needed. Nothing comes easy in this world. I stand with IHA and I think most of the public now does too

    • Posted by Rochon Didn’t Work this hard for GN Staff on

      It’s disheartening to observe that while Jason Rochon settled for the 4000 GN workers with seemingly little effort, he appears to be dragging out the fight for the smaller group of 10-20 housing workers. This stark difference in approach raises concerns about the fairness and commitment to all members of the NEU!

      • Posted by Maq-Pat on

        Two critical pieces of info we need. (1) are the 13 IHA workers turning down a deal as good as the one the thousands of GN workers took? (2) is the NEU spending dues collected from the thousands of GN workers to fight on behalf of 13 IHA workers.

        Separately, it seems extremely hard to justify why this meeting needed to occur in Ottawa, who paid of this southern summer trip and who went?

      • Posted by Samantha M on

        I seem to remember that differently as a GN member. We hear nothing from the Union for almost 4 years about GN negotiations. Rochon got elected, tried to sue the GN, offered to drop a lawsuit, members heard about negotiations for the first time as we had zero communications until he came aboard. He dragged the GN back to the table and got a deal. I phoned him and thanked him and he mentioned he had to work on another deal around that time that was 8 years expired. I think the damage in negotiations with the GN wasn’t his fault. He mentioned do to the state of the union it would take him sometime to turn it around, build a team and be ready to push back. Ive never in my 18 years as GN member got the service from the NEU I’m getting now.

    • Posted by Oh I think on

      Oh I bet if they show up everyday and do overtime like most trades people, they’d easily make over a 100k *before taxes of course

    • Posted by Ben Decko on

      Replace them.
      Easy, peasy….?

  2. Posted by Welcome to Nunavut on

    GN Staff Housing has turned their maintnenance function over to Iqaluit Housing, who answer the phone, but then don’t actually do anything.

  3. Posted by SCM on

    Qigong a ancient Chinese practice of meditation would be a plus and could be negotiated into the contract for time paid. For it is and must suc* to be replacing broken doors windows and patching punched walls year after year ???


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