About the Yukon Federation of Labour
Who is the YFL?
President Teresa Acheson sometimes is asked “Who is the Yukon Federation of Labour” or we get confused with the more well-known Yukon Employees Union in the Yukon. Here is a bit about our history and who we are in the labour movement.
The Yukon Federation of Labour (YFL) represents all Yukon workers, primarily funded by unions in Yukon, but advocating for all workers. Chartered in 1980 by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) when unions in the territory came together on issues facing workers, we align with the national labour movement and serve as an umbrella organization for affiliated unions and locals throughout the Yukon.
To give you a visual of the labour movement: Locals represent a collective of workers, these Locals can join together under a Union or Component (such as YEU), becoming part of a national union (such as PSAC). The national or international unions affiliate with the CLC, often referred to as the house of labour. Each province or territory has a federation of labour that brings the locals/unions together on issues within their provincial or territorial jurisdiction.
What does the YFL do?
Collectively, we advocate for labour rights, social justice, and fair working conditions with the other federations of labour and the Canadian Labour Congress. Our membership includes workers from various industries, professions, and sectors. Workers are integral to the social and economic well-being of Yukon communities through their work, collective action, and advocacy.
Each local engages in collective bargaining to negotiate fair wages, benefits, and working conditions for their members. Collective Agreements allow workers to negotiate protections beyond the basic employment standards.
YFL hosts labor education and professional development programs to empower workers, build up capacity, and strengthen the labor movement. The YFL represents all workers, regardless of union affiliation, ensuring their voices are heard in labor-related discussions and decisions. This goes beyond just traditional worker safety issues, but also social justice initiatives, and addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the labor force.
Unions were around long before the YFL
Unions have been a part of shaping the Yukon much longer than the YFL has existed. For example, Trade Unionists started the Winter Carnival in 1945, which today has become the most celebrated Yukon territorial holiday, the Yukon Rendezvous Festival. The idea of sponsoring a Carnival came from the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union, one of the first unions organized in Whitehorse. The All Unions Committee was established to curate a week of events, prizes, and social fun for the Yukon.