Northwest Territories government refuses union offer of binding arbitration

Employer won't budge on many key issues: UNW
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 01/28/2019
Labour relations
Legislative Assembly in Yellowknife - Plenary Hall, Northwest Territories of Canada. SHUTTERSTOCK

The Government of the Northwest Territories refused an offer on Jan. 22 by the Union of Northern Workers (UNW) to agree to binding arbitration to settle a three-year-old labour negotiation with the government and the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) and avoid a strike.

“We know families are worried. For over three years, our members have been working hard, making compromises and trying to reach a fair deal,” said Todd Parsons, UNW president. “Binding arbitration is an evenhanded process agreed to by both sides. Unfortunately, the government said no.”

Despite comprehensive offers from the union to settle outstanding items, talks between the government and the territories’ largest bargaining units at the government and NTPC, broke down after the government refused to budge on many key issues and flatly rejected UNW’s offer of binding arbitration, said UNW.

Under binding arbitration, both sides face some risk. But in this situation, given the length of time bargaining has dragged on, the UNW is willing to accept the risk and compromise on the long-standing principal of preserving workers right to strike, said the union.

“This door is still open. We can take the risk and the reward together and end this right now,” said Parsons. “This is a sacrifice for our members but it’s worth it if we can end this dispute, avoid a strike, and ensure a fair deal.”

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