VACATION

City of Yellowknife says union left bargaining without responding to latest offer

YELLOWKNIFE — The City of Yellowknife says talks with its unionized workers to settle a labour dispute ended Monday when the union “chose to end bargaining” at 6 p.m. and left the table without responding to its latest offer.

Talks between the city and the Union of Northern Workers were planned for Sunday but the union said they had to be postponed due to the mediator’s flights being delayed.

The city says in a news release that it added a one-time inflation adjustment and signing bonuses to its earlier offer of base wage increases of two per cent per year for 2022 and 2023.

The union, according to the city, had been seeking a five per cent raise in 2022 and three per cent in 2023, along with other perks that included an $800-per-year increase to vacation travel assistance.

Workers with the City of Yellowknife hit the picket lines and the city locked out employees early last Wednesday after mediation between the parties failed.

The Union of Northern Workers and Public Service Alliance of Canada said in a statement Tuesday that the city had refused to increase wages beyond two per cent.

“We tried our best to get a fair deal yesterday,” Local 345 president Reilly Hinchey said in a statement. “Hearing that the city is unwilling to move on wages, we did not think it would be fair to sit in a warm room knowing that it was all pointless.”

Hinchey said the bargaining team planned to join picketing unionized workers.

The city said in a statement Monday that it is committed to negotiating a collective agreement that is fair, respects the important role city employees play in Yellowknife and is affordable for residents and businesses.

“The City remains available and ready to resume bargaining.”

In its statement

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VACATION

Yellowknife says union left bargaining Monday without responding to latest offer

Yellowknife says talks with its unionized workers to end a lockout ended Monday when it says the union “chose to end bargaining” at 6 p.m. and left the table without responding to its latest offer.

Talks between the city and the Union of Northern Workers had been planned for Sunday but the union said they had to be postponed due to the mediator’s flights being delayed.

The city says in a news release it added a one-time inflation adjustment and signing bonuses to its earlier offer of base wage increases of two per cent per year for 2022 and 2023.

The union, according to the city, had been seeking a five per cent raise in 2022 and three per cent in 2023, along with other perks that included an $800 per year increase to vacation travel assistance.

Workers with the City of Yellowknife hit the picket lines last week and the city locked out employees early last Wednesday after mediation between the parties failed.

The union could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday’s talks.

“The City is committed to negotiating a collective agreement that is fair, respects the important role City employees play in Yellowknife, and is affordable for Yellowknife’s residents and businesses,” the city’s statement on Monday said.

“The City remains available and ready to resume bargaining.”

In a news release from the union on Friday, it said its bargaining team was hopeful that when the two sides met, the city would be “willing to actually discuss wages, which they have refused to do up until now.”

The city said last week that the union’s offer totalled an additional $1,646,345 on top of what was already budgeted for in 2023, which it said would equal an additional 4.79 per cent property tax increase.

The previous collective

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TRAVELLING

TV Channel, Live Stream, Kick-Off Time

Manchester City travel to Arsenal on Wednesday night looking to move to the top of the Premier League table.

City, who beat Aston Villa 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, could move ahead of Arsenal with a win at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola’s side have the chance to move above the Gunners after Mikel Arteta’s side went two games without a win – losing to Everton and drawing against Brentford.

The Blues have a formidable recent record against Arsenal and beat the North London club in the Emirates FA Cup fourth round last month.

Wednesday’s clash could have a significant bearing on the Premier League title race, so here is how you can tune into the action from the Emirates Stadium.

Global Kick-Off Times

United Kingdom – 19:30 GMT

United Arab Emirates – 23:30 UAE

United States – 14:30 EST // 11:30 PST

Indian Subcontinent – 01:00 IST

Live Watchalong w/City Xtra

You can join Lewis and Jordan from the City Xtra YouTube channel live pre-match, throughout the game and post-match, along with thousands of other Manchester City fans from around the world!

TV Listings

Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch Wednesday’s clash between Arsenal and Manchester City live on Amazon Prime Video.

For fans living elsewhere, you can find complete TV listings arsenal-vs-manchester-city/” data-type=”URL” data-id=”https://www.livesoccertv.com/match/4527710/arsenal-vs-manchester-city/”here.

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VACATION

Cincinnati more than doubles paid parental leave for city workers

City of Cincinnati employees can now take 12 weeks of fully-paid parental leave, more than double the previous policy.

The former policy offered four weeks of leave paid at 70% salary plus two weeks where the employee could either use other accrued leave (like vacation) or go unpaid.

City Manager Sheryl Long announced the change Friday, along with other expansions to the family leave policy. Now, workers can use the leave for fostering or taking legal guardianship of a child.

“Previously, it was only birth and adoptive parents,” Long said. “That’s ridiculous, right? We as a government, it’s very important for us to understand that families are very diverse and different. And we want to make sure that we’re a place to encourage that difference.”

Long says this was one of her first priorities after being chosen as city manager last September. She says this speaks to the importance of having women in leadership positions.

“For my first child, I had to take two weeks [leave] and then I had to return back to work because I got the notice that hey, you’re not going to receive a paycheck after two weeks,” she said.

The expansion also adds 20 hours of paid prenatal or pre-adoption leave for appointments, and allows employees on parental leave to get regular holiday pay (which didn’t happen in all circumstances under the previous policy).

Mayor Aftab Pureval, who took two weeks of parental leave near the beginning of his term, praised the decision.

“This comprehensive new policy is exactly what doing right by employees looks like,” Pureval said in a statement. “As we compete to attract the best and the brightest to serve our City, strong parental leave and a commitment to supporting workers is a must.”

Long says the cost to the city

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TOUR

New Kids on the Block’s last Mixtape Tour tops this week’s virtual concerts

More men than boys these days, New Kids on the Block nevertheless play nice with others — especially on the package tours they began during 2011 with Backstreet Boys. The best of these have been the two Mixtape Tours the quintet staged during 2019 and again last year, teaming with fellow pop hitmakers for energetic and ingeniously staged nights full of hits from back in the proverbial day. The Philadelphia stop of the 2022 edition — with Rick Astley, Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue — was filmed and will stream starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8, featuring performances by all four acts. Tickets via veeps.com.

Other events (all subject to change)…

FRIDAY, JAN. 6

Singer-songwriter Aaron English starts the year with a pair of concerts from Nashville, at 9 p.m. and again at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7. Tickets via stageit.com.

SATURDAY, JAN. 7

PBS’ “Austin City Limits” returns at 8 p.m. with its 8th Annual Hall of Fame Honors program celebrating Sheryl Crow with performances by Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, Brittney Spencer and Jess Wolfe of Lucius. Check local listings for the right channel.

Carrie Underwood, Lee Brice and Baily Zimmerman are featured at 9 p.m. from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Watch free via circleallaccess.com.

“My Opry Debut” premieres with episodes featuring the Beach Boys, Amythist Kiah and Sam Williams, starting at 10 p.m. Free via circleallaccess.com.

SUNDAY, JAN. 8

SYML, aka Barcelona’s Brian Fennell, streams a performance at 7 p.m., free via syml.ffm.to.

MONDAY, JAN. 9

LSAT — saxophonists Lauren Sevian and Alexa Tarantino — plays at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. from Dizzy’s House in New York City. Watch with a subscription to jazzlive.com.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11

Robyn Hitchcock’s weekly virtual performance streams at 9 p.m. Tickets via mandolin.com.

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TRAVELLING

How To Visit New Orleans In Just Three Days

New Orleans is a vibrant and exciting city with a rich culture and history. There is so much to see and do, especially as Mardi Gras quickly approaches this February. You could easily spend weeks exploring the city and experience only some of it. So, it can be overwhelming to try and fit it all into just a few days. However, with careful planning, you can get a taste of the best of what the city offers in just two days. Here’s how.

Day 1: Voodoo and Vibrant Music

On the first day of your trip, take an early morning flight and check in to the Henry Howard Hotel. The historic property in the Lower Garden District was built in 1867 as a townhouse by famed-architect Henry Howard. It’s since been turned into an 18-room boutique hotel with many quirky original details. Bonus: it’s right around the corner from the bustling Magazine Street.

Speaking of Magazine Street, that will be your next stop. After settling in, head to Lilette for lunch, where you’ll be treated to delicious French-inspired cuisine. This year, Chef John Harris is celebrating the restaurant’s 20th year after being included in Food and Wine magazine’s list of America’s Best New Chefs in 2002 and named a James Beard finalist for the Best Chef South award four times.

Next up, experience the mystical side of New Orleans with a VooDoo Cocktail Experience at Loa Bar. The master mixologist Abigail will whip you up a mystical cocktail with smoke and lick the glass. Then, sticking with the theme, take a VooDoo Walking Tour to

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TRAVELLING

Valpo council to go over redistricting proposals Monday

Valparaiso’s proposal for redistricting the City Council and proposals by six community members are up for consideration when the council meets Monday to go over how to set the boundaries for the next 10 years.

Council President Casey Schmidt, R-3rd District, and Council Vice President Diana Reed, D-1st District, put together the city’s proposal with the assistance of Republican Brian Bosma, the former speaker of the Indiana House who is now working as a consultant with Kroger Gardis & Regis. The city paid $40,000 for the work.

Schmidt said Bosma met with all of the council members about how their districts should be.

“They had input as well because they represent their districts and their constituents,” Schmidt said.

Basic guidelines for the city’s map included doing their best to keep council members in their districts, which was achieved; not splitting any precincts unless there were extraordinary circumstances; and keeping each district within a 5% deviation from 6,830 people, the ideal number based on the 2020 Census.

Another goal was for each district to be bipartisan, Schmidt said, which was something they tried to make clear from the beginning, adding he and Reed met multiple times throughout the process.

“You’re never going to make everyone happy. You do what’s best for Valpo,” he said.

While some of the citizen proposals that were submitted accounted for the city’s future growth, Schmidt said the guidance he and Reed received suggested they use the current census rather than anticipating where or how the city might grow.

“That’s why we do it every 10 years,” he said of the redistricting.

He also was impressed by the civic engagement and the resulting six proposals from the community.

That included one from Valparaiso resident Joe Dauginas, who found out about the opportunity to submit a proposal

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TOUR

Macau to allow package tours and e-visas from November

Macau is to allow package tours and e-visas from November in a major boon for the troubled gaming industry in the special administrative region.

Macau chief executive Ho Iat-Seng announced the news at a Saturday press conference as part of a package of reforms intended to drive economic growth almost three-years since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has devastated the land-based gaming sector in the former Portuguese colony.

The chief executive said that he predicted that the number of daily visitors to Macau should rise to 40,000 as a result of these measures.  

While it is possible for mainland visitors to enter the city on individual exit-visas, the sanctioning of group and online visas will aim to streamline the visitation system for Chinese guests.

The city however has not yet followed Hong Kong’s lead in scrapping the mandatory seven-day hotel quarantine rules for international visitors, which remains a major impediment to recovery in international visitation numbers.  

The new rules will first apply to Guangdong, then to Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Fujian and Shanghai. Visitors from these four provinces and city represented a majority of mainland journeys before the arrival of the pandemic.

There is a designed “circuit-breaker” mechanism to the visa policy, which will automatically suspend the online visas again in the case of a new Covid-19 outbreak.   

Ho said that the topic of economic recovery in Macau has been on the central government agenda, with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) central committee member Han Zheng hosting a video conference in Beijing to discuss options for the special administrative region.

The package of policy initiatives also includes infrastructure spending, economic diversification and business support.

The new measures have been announced in the context of the ongoing public tender licence process, which has heated up in recent weeks with the

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VACATION

Should a worker be fired after travelling on sick leave?

“It wasn’t the case of some serious financial loss or a major inconvenience,” he says. “And there doesn’t seem to have been any impact on the city resulting from her not being available for the time that she was in Quebec – I’m not sure how serious the misconduct was when there’s no impact on the employer, which would normally be a factor to be considered.”

Given the worker’s long period of service with no prior discipline, the arbitrator found that a suspension for the balance of the 2020 and 2021 seasons was appropriate. The city was ordered to reinstate the worker with compensation for loss of salary and benefits from the date she would have been recalled in 2022 to the date of her reinstatement.

Disconnect, confusion over policies

There was a disconnect between the city and the worker that likely stemmed from the city’s failure to clarify policies in three areas – vacation booking for seasonal employees, sick leave, and layoff dates, according to Snowdon.

“[Seasonal employees] were encouraged to take their vacation in the off season, but the off season wasn’t defined,” he says. “To me, that’s a failure on the city’s part – I don’t think it’s fair to put employees in a position where they have no way of knowing when they’re allowed to book their vacation.”

The evidence indicated that in the worker’s 21 years with the city, only once was she extended past Oct. 27 and the rescission of layoff notices added more confusion, says Snowdon.

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