Yukon Hospital Workers Will Strike as Mediation Talks Begin
Workers from all three of Yukon’s hospitals have decided to strike. The decision comes even as their union and hospital officials begin the mediation process.
The strike and whatever outcome might be reached through mediation will affect approximately 250 workers from the Dawson City, Watson Lake, and Whitehorse area hospitals. All of the workers are represented by the same union – the Yukon Employees’ Union and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
Workers at the three facilities have been working without a contract since August 2017.
Those familiar with the outcome of the strike vote said the decision was an overwhelming majority to proceed with strike efforts. Everyone involved is prepared to strike and the strength of this willingness will guide the negotiations of the union in the mediation talks.
The upcoming mediation session will be the fifth round of talks between the union and the Yukon Hospital Corporation. A federal mediator will oversee the upcoming talks.
According to the union, the main issue that is preventing the two sides from reaching an agreement is workload. According to union president Steve Geick, workers are burnt out. He also pointed out the hospitals are planning to increase the number of services offered by the facilities without increasing staff.
The strike announcement press release stated “Chronic understaffing has been worsened by expanded hospital services, and employee burn-out is endemic across hospital departments. There is also a disagreement over contracting out hospital services.
There is also a chance the Yukon Hospital Corporation could lock out employees prior to them going on strike.