Iqaluit bad weather flap continues to haunt Nunavut government
Union files grievance, launches petition
Fallout from a decision by the Nunavut government to remain open March 12, when the City of Iqaluit had asked people to remain off the streets, continues to rain down.
The Nunavut Employees Union wants to ensure that Government of Nunavut workers won’t be called in to work again when the city’s roads are unsafe.
To that end, the NEU plans to file a policy grievance on behalf of employees in Iqaluit who had to use special leave credits for the morning of March 12 if they decided it was unsafe for them to go to work.
The GN decided its Iqaluit offices would remain open despite an advisory from the city asking people and vehicles to stay off the roads due to the large number of stalled vehicles in the streets.
“Weather conditions have improved, but please stay off the roads if you can this morning to give crews the time and space they need to make our roads safe,” the city said.
That left GN employees forced to choose between going to work on roads that the City of Iqaluit had asked them not to drive on, losing pay, or using their special leave credits for holiday time.
The NEU is also circulating a petition among union members who work for the GN in Iqaluit.
“We, the employees of the Government of Nunavut in Iqaluit, petition the Minister Responsible for the Public Services Act to ensure the Government of Nunavut workplaces are closed in a safe and timely manner when the City of Iqaluit closes the roads due to adverse weather conditions,” the petition says.
Doug Workman, president of the NEU, said once GN employees sign the petition, the NEU will compile the completed documents.
“We will be delivering the petitions to the minister responsible for the Public Service Act who we expect will influence the DMs who have say in the matter to accept our proposal,” Workman said.
As for the GN, it’s open to fine-tuning its “bad weather” policy said Joe Kunuk, the deputy minister of Human Resources, also a former mayor of Iqaluit, who made the decision to keep the government offices open March 12.
In April, Kunuk said he plans to meet with representatives from the city and other departments to “compare notes” and see “wherever we might need to tweak” in the GN “bad weather” policy.
“We’re looking forward to meeting next month. It will help us in the future,” Kunuk said.
Between now and that meeting in April, if another storm strikes the city, more communication between the GN and the City of Iqaluit will take place, Kunuk said.
When asked if he was upset by the complaints over the March 12 closure, Kunuk said that “whether we close or not, it always brings a reaction.”