Government of the Northwest Territories

Collective Bargaining

Session Summaries

Session Summary: January 30th - 31th, 2018

The GNWT began the January 30-31, 2018 session by presenting the UNW with a revised package proposal.  This proposal addressed a number of issues identified by the UNW in the package proposal which it provided to the GNWT on September 27, 2017 in a telephone conference call.  

The GNWT told the UNW that although only 2 days were scheduled that the GNWT was hopeful a collective agreement could be reached and was prepared to bargain through the remainder of the week to achieve that.

The GNWT’s January 30, 2018 package proposal includes:

  • a proposed four-year collective agreement with monetary increases in the third and fourth years:
    • April 1, 2016 – 0%
    • April 1, 2017 – 0%
    • April 1, 2018 – 1.0%
    • April 1, 2019 – 1.1%
  • amendments providing for Voluntary Separation and bridging provisions for those employees with less than 6 months from full retirement.
  • adding a new component of $250 dollars to the Northern Allowance base effective April 1, 2018.  As an example, this change based on the April 1, 2017 Northern Allowance amounts would provide increases ranging from $250 to $372;
  • increasing the Short Term Training Fund for Aurora College Educators from $750 to $1500;
  • amendments to Maternity and Parental Leave Allowance provisions to reflect the change to the Employment Insurance waiting period;
  • amendments to the performance review article to address UNW concerns and to prohibit a supervisor from adding material to an employee’s performance appraisal on behalf of the employee;
  • a requirement that employees who receive relocation benefits or education leave repay a portion of these benefits if they choose to leave the GNWT within a specified period;
  • amendments to the Education Leave provisions to address UNW concerns;
  • a new provision that would see term employees’ employment status converted to indeterminate status after 36 months of continuous employment in the same position;
  • amendments to the GNWT’s relief employee proposal in response to the UNW’s expressed concerns regarding the management and usage of relief employees and recent arbitration decisions;
  • amendments to Aurora College Educators (Appendix A9) agreeing to all of the UNW’s proposals which have no monetary implications; and
  • the opportunity for the UNW to work collaboratively with the GNWT in its ongoing efforts to improve Mental Health Awareness in the workplace.

At the conclusion of the GNWT presentation to the UNW, the GNWT noted that the UNW had publically said it is "frustrating and confusing” for the GNWT to be bringing forward this proposal when it had operating surpluses in the last two fiscal years.  The GNWT offered to bring in a senior official from the Department of Finance to answer any questions that the UNW had, and to explain in more detail the GNWT fiscal situation.  In response the UNW indicated that it understood, but did not accept the GNWT explanation of its fiscal situation, and that it would consider whether or not they wanted someone from the Department of Finance to come and speak with them.

The UNW responded later on January 30, 2018 not with a proposal, but with a statement that if the GNWT did not improve on its monetary offer there would not be a negotiated collective agreement.  The UNW said again that it understood but did not accept the GNWT characterization of its current financial state, and characterized the current state of GNWT finances as “healthy.”

The GNWT, on January 31, 2018, responded to the UNW.  Because the GNWT disagreed with the UNW’s characterization of the GNWT fiscal reality, that response included a detailed presentation by David Stewart, the Deputy Minister of Finance, on the current state of GNWT finances. Mr. Stewart invited questions from the UNW and responded to all questions posed. 

Mr. Stewart explained that the GNWT has two spending budgets, the Main Estimates and the Capital Estimates. The operating surpluses from the Main Estimates are only one part of the GNWT financial picture and the GNWT has to pay for operations and capital from the total revenues or by taking on additional debt.  Capital spending, for example, on schools, health facilities and housing, are important parts of the NWT economy and the ability to deliver services to NWT residents.

Mr. Stewart explained that historically, the GNWT has invested well in its employees.  The GNWT is currently experiencing a period of stagnant revenues that it has never before experienced and must balance a large number of competing priorities and interests.

The GNWT then confirmed that its position was not going to change, and reminded the UNW that since the start of collective bargaining the fiscal reality of the GNWT must be a primary consideration.  The GNWT reiterated that its package proposal attempts to address issues raised by the UNW at the bargaining table in an operationally and fiscally responsible manner with the goal of achieving a collective agreement that meets the needs of both parties.

The UNW subsequently advised the GNWT that, “we don’t see the point in coming back to the table at this time”.  When asked for clarification the UNW responded with, “The Employer doesn’t have a mandate that provides a framework for settlement”.

The GNWT remains committed to reaching a collective agreement through the bargaining process and is waiting for the UNW to advise when it will return to the bargaining table. 

The GNWT’s most recent proposal is located here.

Session Summary: September 12th - 13th, 2017

The GNWT entered the September 12-13, 2017 session with the presentation of a package proposal to the UNW with the intent to have each party focus on their top priorities, and engage in meaningful negotiations to reach a new collective agreement. Given the fiscal challenges, the GNWT’s package proposal set out those areas where it has the flexibility to meet common objectives and those areas where it seeks the renewal of terms of the existing Collective Agreement. 

The UNW responded late in the day on September 12, 2017.  The UNW withdrew a small number of their monetary proposals.  The GNWT calculates the cost of the remaining UNW monetary proposals to be $23.8 million for the 2016/2017 fiscal year.  This is a $5.9 million reduction from the original $29.8 million cost of the UNW September 27, 2016 proposal.  The UNW package response did very little to bridge the significant gap between the parties’ monetary positions and did not acknowledge the GNWT’s current fiscal reality.

The GNWT responded on September 13, 2017.  The GNWT altered its position to address UNW concerns while remaining within the GNWT’s fiscal mandate.

The GNWT September 13, 2017 package proposal includes:

  • a four-year collective agreement with modest monetary increases in the third and fourth years:
    • April 1, 2016 – 0%
    • April 1, 2017 – 0%
    • April 1, 2018 – 1%
    • April 1, 2019 – 1%
  • adding a new Environmental component of $250 to the Northern Allowance base effective April 1, 2018.  As an example, this change based on the April 1, 2017 Northern Allowance amounts would provide increases ranging from $250 to $372;
  • increasing the Short Term Training Fund for Aurora College Educators from $750 to $1500;
  • amendments to Maternity and Parental Leave Allowance provisions to reflect the change to the Employment Insurance waiting period;
  • amendments to the performance review article to address UNW concerns and to prohibit a supervisor from adding material to an employee’s performance appraisal on behalf of the employee;
  • a requirement that employees who receive relocation benefits or education leave repay a portion of these benefits if they choose to leave the GNWT within a specified period;
  • amendments to the Education Leave provisions to address UNW concerns;
  • amendments to term employee provisions that would see term employees’ employment status converted to indeterminate status after 48 months of continuous employment in the same position;
  • amendments to the GNWT’s relief employee proposal in response to the UNW’s expressed concerns regarding the management and usage of relief employees and a recent arbitration decision;
  • amendments to Aurora College Educators (Appendix A9) agreeing to all of the UNW’s proposals which have no monetary implications; and
  • the opportunity for the UNW to work collaboratively with the GNWT in its ongoing efforts to improve Mental Health Awareness in the workplace.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the UNW was not able to provide the GNWT with its response, but intends to do so as soon as possible.  The GNWT remains committed to the bargaining process and reaching a collective agreement.  The GNWT has provided the UNW with available dates to return to the bargaining table this fall. 

Both the GNWT’s and the UNW’s package proposals are located under Follow Up Proposals.

Session Summary: March 8th - 10th, 2017

During the March 8 – 10, 2017 session, the Union of Northern Workers and the Government of the Northwest Territories worked on a number of areas of common interest and plan to meet again to resume negotiations in the near future.  The parties have agreed that there will be no public comment until further notice.

Session Summary: March 29th - April 1st, 2016

The parties continued to discuss non-monetary issues, focusing primarily on Aurora College Educators. The parties also exchanged proposals related to mental health in the workplace. On Thursday afternoon, March 31st the UNW tabled a set of principles that would impact the current collective agreement provisions for layoffs. The GNWT bargaining team reviewed the proposal and developed a response. Both the UNW’s proposal and the GNWT’s response are located under Follow Up Proposals.

The parties are scheduled to return to the bargaining table in May.

Session Summary: January 14th - 15th, 2016

The Parties met for two days and Opening Proposals were exchanged. Following the review of Opening Proposals, the UNW provided responses to many of the GNWT's housekeeping items and agreed to a number of them. The UNW also asked a number of questions on other GNWT proposals.

The GNWT provided responses to many of the UNW's non-monetary proposals.

The Parties will continue to share information and are scheduled to return to the bargaining table on January 25th, 2016.

Opening proposals and the GNWT's response of January 15, 2016 are all available on this website.