Fort Smith Housing Authority workers on strike

By February 2, 2015General News

Unionized workers at the Fort Smith Housing Authority (FSHA) begin a strike and full withdrawal of services Monday, February, 2 at 8 a.m.

Public Service Alliance of Canada North members of Union of Northern Workers (UNW) Local 2 will set up a picket line Monday morning at their strike headquarters across from the Housing Authority office.

The beginning of the month is a busy time for tenants in Fort Smith, and the picket line will in no way prevent tenants from paying their rent to the FSHA. Members invite all tenants to enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate and cookies with members on the line.

“The stalled negotiations and lack of a reasonable offer have left our members with no choice,” says UNW President Todd Parsons. “We’re determined to see this strike action through to a fair agreement that’s good for the workers and the community.”

FSHA workers did everything they could to prevent a strike. Negotiators from the PSAC have been in contract talks for more than six months, with the employer refusing to make a reasonable contract offer. Members are insisting upon a fair wage that meets the cost of living, and fighting for fair changes to their allowances, which would ultimately benefit the Fort Smith community as a whole.

Workers unanimously supported strike action in a vote taken December 11, and the bargaining team couldn’t reach a fair deal even with the help of a conciliator.

“Our members want to end the strike as soon as possible because they truly love their community,” says Jack Bourassa, Regional Executive Vice President North for the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “Our negotiator is standing by in Fort Smith, ready and willing to get back to the table as soon as possible.”

The eight staff of the Fort Smith Housing Authority include carpenters, plumbers, painters and other front-line workers who manage and maintain approximately 150 GNWT-owned housing units in Fort Smith. The Housing Authority foreman, a bargaining unit member, has been designated essential and will work on an emergency basis.

For more information, contact:
Jack Bourassa, REVP North
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Office: 867-669-0991
Cell: 867-444-0846

Todd Parsons, President
Union of Northern Workers
Office: 867-873-5668