UNW 16th Triennial Convention 2014

UNW Convention Elects Leaders, Builds Solidarity


Yellowknife, NT (October 20, 2014) – More than 60 delegates gathered in Yellowknife October 17 to 19 for the 16th Triennial Convention of the Union of Northern Workers under the conference theme, Building Solidarity Through Representation

Members elected Todd Parsons to his fifth term as President.  Gayla Thunstrom was elected 1st Vice President, Marie Buchanan was elected 2nd Vice President and Miriam Gordon was elected Equity Vice President.  Regional Vice Presidents elected were Alex Lambrecht—Somba K’e; Chris Potyok—North Great Slave; Lauraine Armstrong—Fort Smith; Roy Courtoreille—Hay River; Val Robertson—Beaufort Delta/Sahtu; Christina Holman—Deh Cho; Ivan Landry—Kimberlite. 

Delegates and member observers were joined by leaders including Public Service Alliance of Canada North (PSAC) Regional Executive Vice President Jack Bourassa, Northern Territories Federation of Labour President Mary Lou Cherwaty, Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington and Yellowknife Mayor Mark Heyck.

Barbara Byers, Secretary Treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress, gave the keynote address to delegates on the theme “Building Union Power Through Representation”. Public Service Alliance of Canada National President Robyn Benson addressed delegates on the need to protect the gains of past struggles, protect public services, and defeat the Harper government. 

Delegates reviewed and approved the UNW’s three-year, $14 million budget, reviewed and passed amendments to by-laws, heard a report on construction of the UNW’s new offices and elected delegates to attend the PSAC National Convention.

Convention delegates attended the October 17 mass rally at the Legislative Assembly, calling for withdrawal of Bill 12, the Northern Employee Benefits Pension Plan Act, and calling for an end to privatization of services at Stanton Territorial Hospital.

A silent auction raised a $10,000 donation to the Lynn Brooks Safe Place for Women.  Donations of almost $10,000 were raised for an Ebola emergency contribution to Doctors Without Borders.

Ken Stewart, the departing Regional Vice President for Deh Cho, was honored for his more than 30 years of service to the UNW, and Roxanna Baisi, UNW Director of Membership Services, received her 30 Year Long Service Award.  

Check for regular updates, important deadline dates, and documents on the Convention 2014 page. 


Convention Bulletin Day One 

Convention Bulletin Day Two 

Convention Bulletin Day 3

Convention Closing Media Release


The Union of Northern Workers elected its new executive at the 16th UNW Triennial Convention October 17 to 19 in Yellowknife.  Members are (front row left to right) Regional Vice President (RVP) Deh Cho  Christina Holman; 1st Vice President Gayla Thunstrom, 2nd Vice President Marie Buchanan, RVP Lauraine Armstrong—Fort Smith, (back row l to r) RVP Alex Lambrecht—Somba K’e; RVP Ivan Landry—Kimberlite; RVP Chris Potyok—North Great Slave; President Todd Parsons; RVP Val Robertson—Beaufort Delta/Sahtu; Equity Vice President Miriam Gordon; RVP Roy Courtoreille—Hay River. 



STOP Bill 12!

The GNWT's Bill 12--the Northern Employee Benefits Services Pension Plan Act--threatens the pension benefits of more than 1,000 UNW members.  The Bill would allow benefits to be reduced retroactively, betraying the promise of benefit and income security workers signed on to under the current plan.

The Union of Northern Workers, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Northern Territories Federation of Labour and the NWT Teachers Association are fighting the Bill.  Submissions have been made to the Legislative Assembly committee reviewing the Bill, calling for it to be withdrawn. 

One clause in the bill would allow the GNWT to join the NEBS pension plan, leaving GNWT superannuation plan members vulnerable to cuts in benefits.

UNW President Todd Parsons has sent a letter to all MLAs calling for the Bill to be stopped.  

Come to a demonstration Friday October 17 at noon at the Legislative Assembly Building.  (Lunch is provided).

Call your MLA  and say Bill 12 must not be passed!

See the letter sent to all MLAs and submissions filed on the Bill

UNW Letter to All MLAs

PSAC Letter to All MLAs 

NTFL Letter to All MLAs 

PSAC Submission to Committee

NTFL Submission to Committee

NWTTA Submission to Committee  

Fight Privatization at Stanton Hospital

GNWT Labour Relations has told the UNW that Stanton’s 8 Facilities Management Workers face lay-off.  The lay-offs could come as early as June 2015. 

Stanton Territorial  Health  Authority plans to replace these workers with contracted-out services.

The lay-offs are the latest in a management campaign of privatization.   Food services and housekeeping have already been contracted out. 

The privatization hurts workers, hurt patients and hurts the hospital and GNWT

Take Action!  You Could Be Next!

Call Your MLA and  say “No Way” to more privatization

Ask your friends, neighbors and local businesses to call MLAs and say they oppose privatization

See a backgrounder and anti-privatization letter

 Read UNW President Tod Parsons Anti-Privation Letter to the Editor 

Use the Draft Letter to Write to Your MLA

Petition! Occupational Health and Safety Regs

Every employee should have the right to feel safe when they go to work every day.

That’s why the Safety Advisory Committee helped draft better language to protect workers with new Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

But the draft regulations have been collecting dust on the desks of both territorial ministers since 2011, and every year more workers die on the job because of it.

We insist the governments of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut approve the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations in their current state when both Legislative Assemblies resume in October 2014, as the Safety Advisory Committee recommended them.

Check out the proposed language at the WSCC Website


Equity Members!

Check out the most recent updates from your Equity Vice President.  

Meeting dates, new initiatives, and PRIZES!  

Go to Equity Members page - click here.









IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT SHEILA LAITY @ sheilalaity@hotmail.com  867 445 7345 OR PSAC OFFICE @ 867 873 5670


PHONE IN 1 866 234 6693 THEN ENTER CONFERENCE CODE 613-858-2367#



Dominion Diamond Bargaining Begins

Your Bargaining Team met with the Employer twice in August to begin bargaining talks.  For the most recent updates and member communiques, please visit the DDEC Bargaining page on the left side of this website.

Click HERE for a direct link to that page.


Support for the Hay River Soup Kitchen

August 23, 2014

UNW and PSAC activists were leading the charge to help the Hay River Soup Kitchen fill its empty shelves this month.  Nice work, guys!

Hay River


UNW and the Community

The Union of Northern Workers cares about our communities, and we are a working partner to support organizations who are making change.   Interested in what your union does in the community? Check out some of the links on our website!

Community Partnerships and Support

Social Justice



Josie Gould Scholarship Winners Announced!

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2014 Josie Gould Scholarship recipients:

Emily MacKinnon       Rebecca Robertson

Arran Ferguson       Kristy Ollerhead

Andrea Hewitt       Kristine McLeod

Sally Card       Craig Ferguson

René O'Reilly       Hannah Bond 


UNW/PSAC Members Seek Change for Canada

UNW/PSAC members who are attending the Peoples Social Forum in Ottawa this week joined thousands of other social activists in the march on Parliament Hill Thursday August 21.

CBC news article

"The Peoples’ Social Forum (PSF) is a critical public space aimed at fostering activist involvement of individuals and civil society organizations that want to transform Canada as it exists today."

Peoples' Social Forum website

SETTLEMENT OF GRIEVANCES -- Shift Premiums on 3rd and Subsequent Weekends Worked


The UNW and the GNWT have reached a settlement on two grievances that were filed  regarding the payment of shift premiums for those who worked on a 3rd or subsequent weekend.

If you are a former employee of the GNWT and you worked 3rd and subsequent weekends please contact us no later than Sept 15, 2014

We have a very short timeframe in which to provide the Employer with any supporting documentation that you may have, so it is imperative that you respond to us by July 18th.

To read the entire letter, click HERE.

UNW at NWT Pride

pride 2014NWT pride 2014

3rd Annual School Supply Drive/Yellowknife

In support of the YWCA.  Organized by Jessica Arnold.

There are kids out there that need school supplies. Anything from pens and pencils, to lunch bags and back packs, would be so very helpful. If you are interested in donating please contact Jessica at happycats3@live.ca or call 447-2035.

For public drop off, the North of 60 Military Family Resource Centre at 5124-54th st from 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

Click HERE for a PDF poster to print and circulate.


Groundbreaking and Blasting!

Blasting and construction on the site of the new Union of Northern Workers building began in July.  President Todd Parsons gives the big thumbs up.

July 2014 blasting

July 2014 construction

The UNW Full Executive were in town for their regular meeting during the week of May 19 and were thrilled to have their photo shot at the GROUNDBREAKING at the site on 53rd Street where the new UNW building will be constructed - s een here with representatives from Clark Builders and Stantec Architects.

may 2015

PSAC North Convention

Thanks to all the UNW delegates and observers who attended PSAC North Convention in Whitehorse.  Your participation makes our union strong!

Congratulations to newly elected REVP Jack Bourassa, and also to our very own Marie Buchanan, who was elected Alternate REVP.



1st Vice President Gayla Thunstrom presents a donation on behalf of Local 37 (formerly Sodeho-Ekati Mine) to Bechoko and Edzo Friendship Youth Centres on June 25, 2014

donation local 37

UNW President Todd Parsons and 1st Vice President Gayla Thunstrom were proud to present Executive Director Iris Hamlyn at the Side Door Youth Ministries a donation on behalf of Local 37.  June 2, 2014

Side door donation

Local Presidents Meet in Yellowknife

LPAC 2014

It was great to see the UNW Local Presidents in Yellowknife this weekend for their annual meeting.  They are seen here, posing with President Todd Parsons and 1st VP Gayla Thunstrom, and the Explorer Hotel bear!

Local 3 Supports Anti-Bullying

Local 3 anti bullying

UNW Local 3's Mike Carruthers presents a cheque for $500 to East Three Elementary School's principal Jenette Vlanich in support of Anti Bullying Day for the purchase of pink T Shirts for all of the students and the staff


GNWT Members - Rest Periods MOA


The UNW and the GNWT proudly announce an agreement has been reached regarding Rest Periods.  A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) becomes part of the Collective Agreement as of April 1, 2014.

This agreement specifically outlines the situations where an employee would be entitled to a minimum of an 8 hour rest period before reporting for a regularly scheduled work day or shift, without loss of regular earnings.

Click HERE to read the full joint communique to members.

Click HERE to read the full MOA.



Cafe Justicia is back!  The UNW has a new shipment of this organic, fair trade plus, Guatemalan coffee, purchased from the PSAC Social Justice Fund.  We have: medium or dark roast, beans or ground (as supplies last).  $13/bag  cash only

If you would like to buy some, stop by the UNW building during office hours.