Your Input, Your Contract

Our contract with the Government of Yukon expires December 31, 2018. We are already gearing up for a strong start to the bargaining process, but we need you. Bargaining proposals come from the members. Nominations for the Bargaining Input Committee come from the members & the Bargaining Teams are elected by the members.

We Need Your Bargaining Proposals by June 15

Do you have an idea to improve working conditions in your workplace? Is there something in our contract that just needs fixing?

Please print the Bargaining Input form linked below, complete it with supporting signatures and submit it to your Local President, to the Yukon Employees’ Union, or to the PSAC Regional Office before the Bargaining Input Deadline of June 15th. Not sure how?

Call YEU at (867) 667-2331 or toll-free at 1-888-YEU-2331 
OR call the PSAC North office at Tel: (867) 668-8593
toll-free: 1-888-998-8229
OR 
Email contact@yeu.ca or dalleys@psac-afpc.com 

We hope to have a new contract ratified by the time our current contract expires December 31, 2018 but we need your help to make that happen. Please, get involved now and stay informed throughout the important process of bargaining. 

YG 2018 Bargaining Input Form (complete, print & sign)

YG Bargaining Input Committee Nomination Form (complete, print & sign)

READ THE CURRENT COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT. 
Make note of any articles you think need to be updated, changed, or improved and complete the Bargaining Input form linked above.

Deadline to submit – June 15.

 

YEU@ #PSAC2018 Day 4,5

Yukon’s delegates continue to lead and inspire at the National Convention. Again and again, members of our group have stood in front of hundreds of union activists and presented cohesive, well thought out and persuasive arguments for and against resolutions under debate. Yukon delegates have also contributed greatly to the work of each Convention Committee, seated at the head table to face the membership and their questions.

Teresa Acheson spoke in favour of a resolution to fully fund Regional Conventions, reminding delegates that the proposed budget reflects lower dues for all members, even with this resolution. She reminded them also that every delegate at #PSAC2018 attends thanks to funding from various sources. After coming to the floor again and again, convention after convention, 2018 delegates strongly supported the resolution to fully fund Regional Conventions. Teresa’s decisive arguments came just ahead of the vote, and we believe she helped solidify the win.

YEU’s Stephanie Coulthard stood in support of a resolution to help democratize the election of PSAC Regional Executive Vice President, North. Previously, the position required a candidate to move to Yellowknife if elected. This non-negotiable barrier discouraged many qualified, committed activists from considering a campaign. The floor voted in favour of the resolution to allow REVP’s to live and work in any city with a PSAC Regional Office. For northerners, that means REVP candidates may choose to live in either Whitehorse, Yellowknife, or Iqaluit.

Elections were held first thing Thursday morning for the roles of PSAC National Executive Vice President and National President. Two candidates vied for the top job – Chris Aylward, sitting NEVP and Fabienne Jean-Francois, National Vice President of CEIU.  Sister Jean-Francois secured 23% of the vote, while Brother Aylward achieved the majority and won the seat. Sister Magali Picard, REVP for Quebec was acclaimed as NEVP, with Sharon Desousa accepting the Alternate NEVP position.

A long line of buses waited outside the Toronto Convention Centre to drive delegates to the start of a Fix Finance & Fix Phoenix rally at noon. Despite the rain, a large and raucous crowd marched and chanted, arriving at the constituency office of Finance Minister Bill Morneau. He has a lot to answer for to the workers of this country, including Bill C-27 which will jeopardize the pensions of Canadian workers. Our Yukon activists didn’t let the rains low them down, marching in full solidarity with our affected brothers and sisters. Phoenix needs to go, and Canada’s public servants MUST be paid, correctly and on time, for their work. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 23.3 states “Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.” The PSAC demands that the Liberal Government fix Phoenix now.

After hours of debate with over 80 speakers lined up at the microphones around the hall, a controversial resolution put forward by the Collective Bargaining Committee to allow electronic voting in some cases was passed. Following the vote, delegates again lined up at the microphones to record against, ensuring the minutes show their opposition to this contentious change. For those of us in the far north, we believe this change may allow greater participation in ratification votes for members in remote communities.

A moving tribute to 30 year PSAC activist and two term President Robyn Benson wrapped up the business of the day, with delegates looking forward to an old fashioned Manitoba Social in her honour. Tomorrow will provide an opportunity to get back to debate and voting for the morning before Frank Miller, elder from the Mohawk Turtle Clan offers a traditional blessing to close the 2018 Convention.

YEU Delegation Prepares to Attend 2018 PSAC National Convention

We are only a few days away from the National Convention of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. As usual, the Yukon Employees’ Union will send a delegation of activists to Convention to represent us at the national level. Our delegates hail from six Locals, and reflect the diversity of our union.

Members of our Executive have played key roles on several Convention committees, meeting over the past several months to discuss resolutions, finances and more. Their contributions will continue once we reach the Convention floor in Toronto.

Senator Murray Sinclair, Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be the Keynote Speaker on Monday April 30th, a speech certain to be moving and memorable. In fact, the week’s agenda is packed with resolutions, plenary and committee sessions, regional caucuses, after hours educational opportunities and speakers.

YEU will provide daily Convention updates which we hope you’ll follow. Look for Live Facebook video feeds and regular posts from the floor. Make sure to like the YEU’s Facebook page, keep up to date at the PSAC’s Facebook page and follow the twitter feeds of both the Yukon Employees’ Union and the Public Service Alliance of Canada. If you want to keep it simple, just follow #PSAC2018 on Twitter and you’ll see it all.

PSAC National President Robyn Benson is retiring, and a number of activists have announced their candidature. The field of candidates is diverse and exciting, with a representative cross section of Canadians offering their skills and experience to lead this dynamic organization through the coming years.

Stay tuned – follow the hashtags and watch for our regular updates. We want to be sure our members see the big picture – your representatives working for you at the PSAC 2018 National Convention.

 

YEU is Hiring: Executive Director

Executive Director
Full-time, indeterminate (37.5 hours/week)
Salary $129,000-$152,000

Yukon Employees Union is seeking a visionary, dynamic, and driven leader to serve as our next Executive Director. The Executive Director is the sole managing director of the Yukon Employees’ Union and is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of all aspects of the operation.

Reporting to the President, the Executive Director has four key areas of accountability:

1. Labour relations services to union members;
2. Management of YEU budget and expenditures;
3. Planning, development and implementation of YEU’s strategic goals;
4. All aspects of Human Resource Management for YEU staff.

A competitive candidate will have extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of management, finance, administrative law, labour relations and conflict resolution. The level of knowledge and skill required is typically achieved through post-secondary education in business, law, labour relations, or human resources, and ten or more years’ experience in a similar leadership position. The Executive Director should have experience with collective bargaining/grievance processes and should have in-depth knowledge of the benefits and challenges associated with unionized working environments.

YEU’s Executive Director must be ethical, strategic, resilient and collaborative in order to meet the needs of nearly 5,000 members and the staff.

This challenging position is rewarded with a competitive salary, excellent pension, medical and dental plans, training opportunities and other benefits.

Applications and inquiries should be sent by e-mail with the subject line Executive  Director 2018 to:

Laura Hureau, Executive Director
lhureau@yeu.ca

Application Deadline: December 22, 2017

Post-Traumatic Stress Injury: Hearing, Helping, Healing

ptsi-blue-sky-black-cloud

Jim Regimbal chaired the Yukon Employees’ Union’s recent Human Rights panel discussions of Post-Traumatic Stress Injury.  As Dawson City’s Fire Chief, President of the Association of Yukon Fire Chiefs, and Yukon’s Director on the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, he has advocated for improved services to first responders suffering from PTSI and has been instrumental in bringing the issue into focus in Yukon.  He provided powerful empathy and insight earned from his many years on the job. 

The first step is acknowledging and accepting that, whatever name it’s given, Post-Traumatic Stress Injury is real and that trauma significant enough to cause injury can’t easily be quantified. The science supports this, with mountains of evidence explaining the changes to brain structure caused by exposure to trauma. We can’t choose not to “believe in PTSI” any more than we can choose not to believe in climate change. The evidence is clear and the science is irrefutable.

PTSI can be the result of a sudden, dramatic incident but it is just as likely to develop invisibly over many years.  Its onset can come without warning, sometimes after a seemingly benign event.  Whitehorse Psychologist Nicole Bringsli used a water glass analogy; a glass can hold only so much liquid.  All it takes is one too many ordinary, inconsequential drops of water and the glass spills over.  We can witness and contain only so much pain and trauma before we reach our capacity to cope and, like the water glass, we risk spilling over.

What constitutes trauma?  There’s no easy answer. Trauma that affects one individual very profoundly can sometimes be borne by another, or can be overcome with access to the right kind of support at the right time.  Bringsli reminded us that each individual brings their own history and sensibilities to their work, and each person responds differently to similar circumstances.

What occupations or events are likely to lead to psychological injury?  Combat veterans, first responders like firefighters, police officers, EMS providers, dispatchers and corrections officers witness things they can’t ever forget, scenes and calls that will affect them forever.  A career of running into burning buildings, delivering terrible news or fighting to save lives takes an enormous toll on the heart and psyche.  There are many lines of work that put people at risk, and it’s important to recognize the danger so we can provide appropriate resources to all those who need them.

Many caring professions are occupied predominantly by women, and many struggle silently with the emotional impacts of that difficult work. Though rarely labelled PTSI, the ongoing emotional trauma has the same impact on quality of life and mental health. It’s time to consider how broadly affected both men and women are by their work, and how many professions are high risk for psychological injury.

Social workers face heartbreaking situations in the line of duty. Removing children from dangerous homes, denying parental access and leaving vulnerable children in foster situations takes a terrible toll. Sheena Larose, a former Child Protective Services worker from Ontario recently wrote “Unless you are in the trenches, people don’t understand that child protection work can be among the most intensive, heart-wrenching and volatile work one could ever encounter.”

Social workers counsel child abuse victims and must bear witness for their frightened and confused young clients. When we talk about social workers’ emotional health, we often say they have “burned out”… we don’t consider PTSI as a likely outcome.  Vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue – whatever we call it, the results can be life altering and career limiting.

Front line workers in shelters for domestic violence victims face recurring trauma – imagine the daily challenge of maintaining a healthy outlook when you’re immersed in the pain of others.  How hard must it be to turn a woman away when your facility has no space, knowing she and her children have no choice but to return to a dangerous home?  These workers must also remain anonymous to protect the security of those they help, and so they often have no choice but to struggle in silence, without recognition or support.

Prevention is more valuable than cure; our panel members spoke again and again of the urgent need for effective critical incident de-briefing practices, currently almost non-existent in Yukon. They talked of the need for trained peer support, for non-judgemental listening and for access to counselling services. Other jurisdictions have comprehensive supports we haven’t even begun to consider here in the Territory. 

When our panel was asked for a wish list to help combat Post-Traumatic Stress Injury, there was consensus on the need for critical incident debriefing, for pro-active discussion and peer support. More funding is needed to ensure local mental health service providers are resourced to provide care when it’s needed. Employers must prioritize worker safety and be as diligent in protecting the minds and spirit of their employees as they are about their physical well-being.    

Jeannie Dendys, Yukon’s new Minister responsible for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health & Safety Board offered her commitment to supporting PTSI prevention & treatment.  YWCHSB Chair Kurt Dieckmann stressed the role of the employer and the value of prevention.  It’s important to make sure protections are built into work environments likely to experience critical stress and trauma.  Normalizing help-seeking behaviour will go far, he says, to de-stigmatizing PTSI and making work safer.

How we respond to our injured colleagues, neighbours and family members, is an indicator of how likely they are to heal.  Forcing sufferers to convince us of their injury, prove its cause and defend their need for help adds insult to injury and creates barriers sometimes too great to overcome.  During the recent Territorial election campaign, new Premier Sandy Silver promised to amend the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Act to include presumptive provisions for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD/PTSI) in first responders. That commitment was echoed by Minister Dendys at our event.  At YEU we believe presumptive provisions must cover first responders, but that other high risk worker groups must also be included if the system is to protect those at greatest risk of harm.

Our community is compassionate; we are quick to help families in need. We support our sick, injured neighbours when there’s a fire, a death or catastrophic illness. That empathy must extend to the helpers, not just to the victims. 

We invite you to watch the full video recording of our two panel discussions.

Watch The Nature of Things for PTSD: Beyond Trauma

 

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YG’s New Voluntary Severance Provision: What you NEED to know

yg severance provision graphic*New language has been added to the Collective Agreement between YEU/PSAC and the Government of Yukon. Article 19 Severance provides for voluntary early pay-out of severance pay under certain conditions.

It is important to remember this new provision is voluntary only – there is NO requirement to request an early payout of your severance. All other forms of severance such as the provision for layoff remain intact and are unchanged.

Severance is like a deferred long term savings plan. For every year you work you will have one week of pay set aside for when you retire. For employees who plan to work until they retire, the value of severance is 1 week of pay for each year of service, which is like having an additional 1.9% that is set aside annually for you by the employer.

The monetary “value” of severance varies considerably from person to person depending on years of service, your career plan, and the conditions under which you might expect to take severance pay.

Severance is intended to bridge your time between when you retire and when you get your first pension cheque or provide additional pay in the event you are laid off. There are occasions where several months elapse between the date of retirement and receipt of the first pension payment.

How will the new Voluntary Severance Pay-Out article work?

If you voluntarily take an early payout of your severance, the following applies:

  • You can only apply for it when you have at least 5 years of service
  • You can only take it in multiples of 5 year blocks
  • Early payout of severance means you will only be paid 50% of your regular entitlement. Rather than 1 week’s pay for each year worked, you will receive 1 week’s pay for each 2 years of service
  • Severance will be paid out at your current substantive rate of pay
  • There may be additional tax implications

If you voluntarily take an early payout of your severance and you are still employed, there may be additional tax payable. Any additional taxes will be your responsibility and will vary from person to person depending on your personal financial situation.

Another important factor to consider is you more than likely will be at a higher pay level when you retire. This means severance will be paid out at a higher level when you retire. 

*If you cash out early, you will continue to accrue severance, but like a savings account, once you withdraw severance, it is gone. It can’t be replaced or replenished over time.

*We recommend you do not access this provision unless you absolutely have to.


*For reference, the contract language is below
19.10 Severance Voluntary Pay-Out

A regular employee with at least five (5) years of continuous service may elect to have all or a portion of their accrued severance paid out prior to resignation or retirement, subject to the following conditions:

a)    Pay-out must be requested in five-year increments  (e.g. 5 years, 10 years, etc.)
b)    An employee may request a voluntary severance pay-out each time the employee accrues another five year increment of severance.
c)    Request for pay-out must be made by September 30 each year.
d)    Voluntary severance will be paid on the pay day falling immediately after November 1.
e)    An eligible employee is entitled to be paid by the employer severance pay equal to the product obtained by multiplying the employee’s weekly rate of pay by 1/2 by the number of full-time equivalent completed continuous years of service requested for pay-out to a maximum of 28 weeks.
f)    The number of years of voluntary severance paid out will be subtracted from remaining accrued balance of severance for the purposes of Article 19.
g)    An employee’s future earning and accrual of severance shall remain unaffected.

The Letter of Expectation: What Does it Mean?

Rob-Jones-Y010-President-2016

The fact finding meeting is over; you may never hear about the issue again, or the employer notifies you that they have come to a conclusion and you’re called for a follow up meeting.

During the meeting your supervisor reads out loud and presents a letter of expectation (LOE);  welcome to the performance management stream and the right of the employer to reaffirm the roles, responsibilities and accountability of your position within public service in Yukon.

Firstly, a letter of expectation is not discipline.  While it may feel like discipline (and trust me I know this feeling, having been through this process), it is not intended to be, nor is it a disciplinary action. 

A properly formatted letter of expectation should clearly outline the issues the employer has identified that need to be rectified, the changes they would like to see, the timeline for this change and the support and resources for assisting with process.

What happens after I receive this letter?

This is a shared responsibility; you as a public servant have been advised of your employment expectations and you should seek to meet the mark. It will feel like there is extra scrutiny on you and this is natural and actually accurate, but not in the “I’m gonna get you” way. 

After an LOE is delivered the employer is watching you, not to note your failure but to ensure your success.  It is incumbent on the employer to assist you in meeting the requirements of your position and the expectations that have been outlined. 

YTG (the employer) needs to provide access to support and resources to ensure you are successful.  Bear in mind  you are a big part of this success and it is incumbent on you to meet the requirements of your job contract with YTG. As the cliché goes it takes two to tango and for the most part you are the lead in the dance.

 How long does the LOE stay in my file?

As letters of expectation are not discipline they are not part of your file.  When it comes to your “file” you only have one and this is held at the Public Service Commission (you can make an appointment to see your file with PSC if you would like to review your public service employment file).  

Your LOE will be held by your supervisor and will not be in your “file” but will be kept for reference for the timeline provided in the letter.  An LOE will be deemed complete at your next PPP (Personal Performance Plan) provided the issues have been resolved and have not continued.  Now, if the behavior in the letter continues, this can open up the disciplinary stream (which I will cover in another post).  But we all know that this won’t be an issue……..right?

 A few other details….

 Letters of expectation do not always come from fact finding meetings. Employment behaviors can be noted and dealt with outside of fact finding meetings and delivered at the discretion of the employer.

  • Union representation is not required at the presentation of an LOE as they are not disciplinary, however, it is recommended by YTG that if it will be of benefit to the employee YEU representation can be in attendance.
  • As always, if there are questions or concerns call the YEU office at 667 2331 or call me directly at 334 4331, remembering there is a timeline for issues of approximately 20 days, so call early and get the answers.

 Yours in solidarity,

Rob Jones

rob jones

President, YEU Local Y010