A surprise pop up practice picket was held today at the Jackfish Power Plant as northern workers showed up determined to get a fair deal.

In a press release, the Union of Northern Workers states that more than 60 Northwest Territories Power Corporation employees from Local 16 of the UNW along with their supporters were there as talks have dragged on for over three years.

UNW president Todd Parsons said the current situation is unacceptable and that they are ready to take to the picket lines, if necessary.

“We are working hard to find a middle ground – and have now been talking for over three years trying to negotiate a fair deal and avoid a strike.”

Despite the government’s $100 million operation surpluses for the past three years, they have been working without a Collective Agreement since January 1st, 2015. GNWT and Hay River Health and Social Services employees have also been working without a Collective Agreement since April 2016.

According to the UNW, other outstanding issues remain, including job security, the growing overuse of contract workers, keeping pace with increases in the cost of living and the push for improved work/life balance especially for members who continuously work on standby and extended shift schedules in remote locations away from home and family.

Parsons notes that NTPC employees work around the clock with the responsibility of keeping the lights on in the NWT.

“Power Corp and public service employees work hard every day to deliver vital services people rely on and are only asking to be treated fairly. We aren’t just fighting for today’s workers and their families, but also for the next generation of Northern workers.”