Nunavik teachers, school support staff vote for strike mandate

“We believe this gives us more power in negotiations,” union president says

Kativik Ilisarniliriniq’s head office in Kuujjuaq. The Association of Employees of Northern Quebec, which represents Nunavik teachers and support staff, said its members showed overwhelmingly support for a strike mandate during a Wednesday vote. (File photo by Sarah Rogers)

By Sarah Rogers

Nunavik teachers and school support staff have voted in favour of a strike mandate.

The Association of Employees of Northern Quebec, which represents teachers and support staff at Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, said its members showed overwhelming support of the mandate during a Wednesday vote.

Teachers voted 85 per cent in favour, while support staff voted 96 per cent for a strike mandate.

The union has been negotiating a new contract for those employees since their previous contract expired in March 2020.

“The government doesn’t want to invest enough in improving our work conditions or the education of our students,” said AENQ president Larry Imbeault. “They’ve hardly given us any answers.”

“We believe [this strike mandate] gives us more power in negotiations.”

The union is looking for a 1.75 per cent salary increase for its members in the first year — in addition to an hourly minimum for the lowest-paid employees — with a salary increase of 2.05 per cent in the second year and 2.20 per cent for the third.

Salary negotiations are happening between the government and the AENQ’s parent union, the Centrale des syndicats du Québec.

For its part, the AENQ focuses on more local issues, like regional disparities and benefits.

Imbeault said the union has asked for rent subsidies for long-term residents, as well as a paid travel and food cargo allowances for those employees.

François Beauchemin, an AENQ negotiator for its teacher members, said the school board is also trying to clamp down on how teachers use a weekly five-hour block of time that’s reserved for “work of a personal nature,” which as is stands, teachers can decide where and when to complete.

“Now they want to take that out and assign how teachers use their entire 32-hour work week, and maybe more,” he said. “That’s a no for us.”

Beauchemin said the school board is already seeing growing staffing shortages in its schools, and he hopes a new contract with better working conditions will be a draw for new applicants.

Despite the Wednesday vote, the union doesn’t have plans for any strike action just yet, while negotiations continue next week.

“We want to give them a chance to improve their offers,” Imbeault said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

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(19) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nunavik Teachers Dont Go Further North on

    Nunavut treats teachers way worse… ask the Premier. If you want abrupt changes to Stages and no standardization, terrible DEAs, go for it

  2. Posted by Get local teachers working on

    It’s ridiculous how often our kids in kuujjuaq are missing school due to teacher absences. Anyone now can follow the pattern of this pathetic abuse of our children on a face book page. There’s a page up and dedicated to our primary school activities, and each morning there’s a list of school closures and it’s documented ridiculousness. I’m not sure about strikes , but until this unacceptable behaviour of teachers missing class gets attention, our children will continue to fail.

    • Posted by Pathetic on

      My kids in kuujjuaq were with me 3 days this week, meaning at home no daycare , no teachers. Charlie watt campaign on self government, wow Charlie, do you even know about this ?

    • Posted by Nunavik teacher on

      teachers need the vaccine so they don’t get sick at school. We’re all stressed out!

      • Posted by Teachers on

        Too bad there not a vaccine to local teachers and daycare workers to go to work in the morning. Any left overs to be administered to coop workers. And I say and, give out the vaccine about 5 on a weekday, at the coop store kuujjuaq.

  3. Posted by Inuksta on

    We see many teachers working in different places and it has made them into not prioritizing what they originally came here to do… KSB really needs to toughen their contracts and enforcement on their housing as we also see that are not working for KSB being a guest to teachers or partying.

  4. Posted by Parent on

    Been a student and a parent in our school system. Seen really dedicated teachers who were willing to make a difference and teachers who abuse the system and don’t care about the kids who they teach as long as get their pay. Union should look into those bad apples and maybe ratify something to take steps to fix it.

    • Posted by Simply complexity on

      You said that right, lots of good teachers, but it only takes a few bad ones to ruin a child’s school year. There’s a deep problem with these teachers not showing up in the morning. It has been going on for years. This issue has been discussed at committees meeting , but like lots of mentality, it has no guts to make that confrontation directly to the teacher having the issue. It gets pushed under the table , and pretend it will go away, but it don’t go away. In Nunavik there’s a divide between professional trained teachers and the local non trained teachers.There’s a goal in the process to make equality for local teachers to get the same benefits as the profession trained ones. We can all agree that equality is the way to go, but let’s look at what’s not equal to begin with. If a local non trained teacher is put on the same pay scale, benefits as the trained teachers, what’s the point of being trained? Why would local teachers want to go to higher education, when they can just get a job as uneducated? That’s a big problem. It appear to me that teachers calling in sick are both professionals and non professionals, with a bit more of the locals calling in sick, then professionals. In Nunavik the no show to work, is very chronic, and very crippling to the economy and the quality of services rendered. Its very negative on our children,. So next time your thinking about teachers, please consider what I just stated. And don’t take my word, just go on Facebook, and listen to local fm, for the morning updates on class room closures.

      • Posted by Parent on

        I agree with you. When I said teachers I meant all teachers including locals. What I wish for is to have all Nunavik kids to have a proper education. When I was a young student I didn’t know I was getting minimal education because I believed in our school system. Little did I know it was light years away from the rest of the world. As I got older I realized most of our kids were the victims because of it. As for the bad apples, I hope union will do something because at the end of the day the kids are the victims. Lived it, still see it!

      • Posted by Trained teachers?? on

        Last time I checked, we mostly get bottom of the barrel. Doesn’t matter if the teacher has a piece of paper or not. While I was in school, the ones you talk so highly of abandoned us before mid terms and quit. We had barely any teachers left at the end of the school year. Jaanimmarik 2002-2005. The only ones who stuck around were the ones who been around since the dawn of time and were on the cusp of retirement. Due to health issues, they barely attended, as well!

        • Posted by Parents get your kids up on

          One of the problems I see in Nunavik is parents not involved in the kids education. I know many kids that don’t get called up for school on the morning. If these kids do come to school, they’re hungry and tired. It’s not like they get encouraged and fed well. There’s too many problems at home. There’s no denying the impact of dysfunctional family situations on children.

  5. Posted by Nunavik Thinking on

    It would be fitting like the rest of Nunavik residents that there pay gets deduction according to the salary because from what I heard is they have free housing or something like 250$ per month

    • Posted by Power to the educated on

      Ok, but you’re missing something important. And it’s in the power of an education. Professionals from the south are in great demand, or should I say professionals from anywhere are in great demand. We don’t have much of a educated power in Nunavik. The professionals, the educated mostly come in from the south. That being said, it’s all part of their pay, housing, and all other benefits. The rent scale from kmhb has nothing to do with that. Ki , hospital, kRG, and others with a need to have educated people are not in that same category, and why should they be, when it’s their call to go wherever they want, and luck to Nunavik that they decide to come here. Professionals don’t have to come to Nunavik, whether you want them to, or not. There’s so much opportunities all over the country. Now, a solution would be for more people in Nunavik to get that educated status, and soon we’ll see a better economy, a better moral, happier working people with no resentment towards the southerners that are educated. Housing would even get better, because it’s then more local people,e taking up the professional housing that ki, and the hospital, and kRG have. I’m saying more locals educated makes life better for all.

  6. Posted by Tappa on

    How about give a raise to who deserves it. There are some hard working people out there and there are some that are real crap. Really difficult to find decent workers now a days or Why not separate union .
    What is the union anyways.

    • Posted by Minimum Raise on

      When ever $1 you warn is worth 2% on average annually, it is not a huge ask to look for a 2% raise. Hard to believe management can hold the line on wages when this is a minimal ask.

  7. Posted by Mr. Single on

    If you truly care about your children’s education, I would suggest moving to the south. *Most* Nunavik Inuit children with decent education were schooled in the south at one point or an other. Is this true for you, the reader?

    • Posted by So correct on

      I moved out of the north in the day to allow my children to get a good education, and it’s paid off well. They are now back in the north and educated. I agree it’s a sacrifice, but it’s so beneficial also in making the best life. Now I see much the same thing happening to the system as I saw when we had to move, it’s never changed much. There’s no heart and soul in Nunavik school system. Kids are not motivated to learn. Teachers find that after teaching for awhile, it’s only a few students that are seriously coming to class and learning. Those doing that are trying to be dragged down but those who are not serious. The local teachers I see today, are the very ones who weren’t serious about their education years ago, but somehow managed to get into the jobs to help continue the lack of motivation. Twenty or thirty years from now , it’ll be the same, with only a few getting successful. What we’re developing is this society whereby you have lots of jobs, lots of employment, and lots of employees, but a continued dependence on the south for everything, because those jobs are filled with non qualified employees. It produces lots of material, even food, the dump is kept stocked well from the waste thrown out, but it is third world mentality. Only education will correct that.

  8. Posted by Gutsy on

    If only the Nunavut Employees Union would so something similar. They have failed to negotiate a collective agreement for over 3 years! Strike vote already and move management! Solidarity from Nunavut.

  9. Posted by Kyle on

    Start paying the same as NWT, Nunavut and Yukon and you will have more teachers stay and come.

    You have a large gap from Principal and VP to teacher. NWT a principal is on the same grid and only gets an allowance. for being principal.

    Good luck no one wants to work ans stay at work period these days.

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