What is a Federation of Labour? It is an organization or group, and Labour is the body of persons engaged in such activity, especially those working for wages. Combined together they equal a Federation of Labour – a uniting of workers’ working together to advocate for positive social change. Just as workers unite in a union to fight for and protect their rights, so also do Unions in uniting under a Federation of Labour. However, the Labour Movement is much larger than that as Federations of Labour across Canada unite under the Canadian Labour Congress which is united worldwide under the International Trade Union Confederation that represents 180 million workers in 162 countries and has 333 national affiliates. Across the Labour Movement landscape advocates’ campaign and lobby about issues related to Working Conditions/Hours, Climate Change, Employment Standards, Taxes, Health, Safety, Compensation, Minimum Wage, Training and Apprenticeship, Temporary Foreign Workers, Employment Insurance, Retirement Security, Union Advantage, Child/Forced Labour, and Human Rights.

Why do we advocate? For political, social and economic change.  For Who? For our Members, their Family, Friends and Local/Global Community. The rights and benefits that are gained at bargaining tables around the world, provide for and enable those directly benefiting from a collective agreement to have a higher quality of life through higher wages, various benefits, and work/life balance. Which in turn benefit the Community through economic transactions, as well as benefiting employers by ensuring workplaces are safe, promoting equality, increasing productivity, making operational costs more predictable and reducing employee turnover.

Where does the NTFL fit into the Labour movement? The NTFL advocates for workers in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, lobbies both Territorial Governments on behalf of workers, and to extend benefits to all workers regardless of their union affiliation. In the Territories the NTFL has been apart of increasing the minimum wage, passing worker health and safety regulations, helping to raise awareness about family violence and homelessness, supporting a living wage campaign and many other issues that we continue to campaign and lobby the Territorial Governments on.

Where is the NTFL right now? Headquartered in Yellowknife and active across Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, there are 6 regions and an RVP for each the Dehcho/South Slave, Tlicho/Somba K’e, Sahtu/Inuvik, Kitikmeot, Kivalliq, and Qikiqtani. The current Regional Vice Presidents’ reside in Iqaluit, Yellowknife, Pond Inlet, Fort Smith, Norman Wells, Kugaaruk, and Rankin Inlet.There are also 3 Vice Presidents, one  for Youth, and the others for Nunavut and Northwest Territories, in addition, to the Secretary and Treasurer.

When was the NTFL founded? On April 19, 1980 Jim Evoy was elected the first President at the founding triennial convention. Since then 9 other people have sat as President of the Northern Territories Federation of Labour, and in 2 months the 11th President will be elected to continue to lead the organization and carry the NTFL through to its 20th Triennial Convention in 2017.

Gayla Thunstrom