First Nation gets out of health care
Transfer to GWNT comes after employees apply to join union

by Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

FORT SIMPSON (Oct 31/97) - The employees of the Stanley Isiah Senior's Home will soon have a new boss.

On Monday, the Liidli Kue First Nation announced it would no longer be managing the personal-care facility at the home they have run for the past seven years.

Deh Cho Health and Social Services announced it would take over operations Nov. 21.

The home's 11 employees were told of the move at a special meeting held Monday in Fort Simpson.

"It was getting complicated and there were a lot of financial concerns," a Liidli Kue spokesperson said Tuesday.

"The personnel wanted to get into a union.... We see this a positive change with the employees gaining benefit packages and a higher rate of pay for some."

While saying the move came more quickly than anticipated, the department's public administrator, Nick Sibbeston, said these sort of staffing issues would have had to have been resolved in the future anyway.

"We were aware of the possibilities," he said. "It would have been a challenge (in the newly combined health centre slated for completion sometime around 2000) with some staff hired by Health and Social Services and some by the band."

In Yellowknife, the Union of Northern Workers director of membership services, Scott Wiggs, said staff at Stanley Isiah had already applied for union membership. However, he added, this becomes a moot point when the government takes over management of the home.

"The application is before the Canadian Labor Board now," he said. "But, as I understand it, if the GNWT is going to take over operation of this facility, they (the workers) would become GNWT workers and fall under the collective agreement. We're checking that right now."