Universities' Employees Union
Saskatoon Office: Room 21 McLean Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK S7N 5E6 966-7015
Representing support staff at University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and University of Regina we are affiliated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
1. What is a strike?
A strike is any form of job action following a strike mandate. It includes but is not limited to, full scale walkouts, rotating walkouts, information pickets, study sessions, work to rule campaigns, etc.
2. Can we go on strike?
When the membership votes in favour of job action we will be able to commence such job action up to and including a full scale. We are required by law to provide the Employer with 48 hours notice prior to commencing job action. We are also prohibited from commencing job action if we have any issues being determined by the Labour Relations Board. At this time there are no issues pending before the Labour Relations Board.
3. What do I receive for pay if we go on strike?
You will receive any pay owed to you by the Employer.
CUPE National provides strike pay of $40.00 per day to a maximum of $200.00 per week for all members who perform picket duties. Saskatoon are fortunate to have a sufficient strike fund so that they are able to provide this same level of strike pay from day one of any job action until National strike pay commences. Strike pay is not taxable and payments to you will be made commencing ten days into job action. Also, a member who has been on strike for ten days or more shall receive an additional $80.00, to be paid upon termination of the strike.
4. Can the Employer lock us out?
If the Employer provides the Union with 48 hours notice, they can legally lock out the employees provided there are no issues being determined by the Labour Relations Board.
5. What happens if the Employer locks us out?
Strike pay is the same in a lock-out as it is in a strike.
6. How am I eligible to receive strike pay?
You are eligible to receive strike pay provided that you have participated with the strike on all eligible days in that period.
You must also participate in picket line duty or some other strike related activity on a daily basis. If you are sick or are otherwise unable to picket, you need to report this to your picket captain.
7. What happens to my benefits?
The National Strike Fund pays for group life and group extended health premiums for the members entitled to strike pay for the whole period of the strike so those benefits will continue.
8. Is strike pay the same for everyone?
Yes, all members whether full-time or part-time, temporary or permanent, the most inactive member or the Local Bargaining Committee or President all receive the same rate of strike pay.
9. What if I don't believe in strikes?
For almost everyone, the decision to take strike action is a painful one and can be justified only after everything else has failed. Most people will support strike action if they believe that the cause is worthwhile and no other actions have worked. People who cannot bring themselves to picket can support the strike simply by staying away from work. However, you will not receive strike pay for this. You are also free to find employment with another employer during the strike.
10. What happens if I cross the picket line?
Legally any individual can choose to cross a picket line and go to work. However, this usually leads to substantial shop floor morale deterioration. Under your Local Bylaws, you will be fined an amount equal to any earnings you received as a result of crossing the picket line. Additionally, this may lead to sanctions under the National Constitution.
11. Who pays for legal action against members who cross the picket line?
Local union would pay for actions through the Court of Queen's Bench. Any member who crossed the picket line will be responsible for their own legal counsel.
36(4) … A trade union may assess or fine any of its members who have worked for the struck Employer during a strike held in compliance with this Act a sum of not more than the net earnings that employee earned during that strike.
(6) a fine imposed on a member pursuant to subsection (4) with respect to an action … is deemed to be a debt due to and owing to the trade union and may be recovered in the same manner as a debt owned pursuant to a contract in a court of competent jurisdiction.
12. If a member crosses the picket line and goes to work can we pull their union card? What is the process?
The Union would not want to pull the card of a member who crosses the picket line, as the trial procedure as required by the Trade Union Act, in accordance with the Constitution, may only be invoked against members. If the Union pulls the members card, the individual will no longer be a member and no action may be taken.
13. What happens if I am injured while on the picket line or doing strike committee work? Will I get WCB or LTD?
WCB will not cover you, however, members are entitled to LTD if the Local has paid the premiums. The Local will contact the respective University for the exact cost of benefits.
14. If I have another job in a restaurant and do my picket duty will I get to keep my restaurant salary and my strike pay?
Yes, as per the National Defense Fund Regulations.
15. What if I am on Maternity Leave?
You will continue to receive your benefits from EI. If you prefer, you may cancel your EI benefits, sign up for picket duty and collect strike pay. You cannot collect both EI and strike pay.
16. What if I am on WCB, EI, STD or LTD?
If a member is on a leave when the strike commences (e.g. sick leave, vacation leave, Workers' Compensation leave, LTD leave or other approved leave), the leave continues for its duration. Although the Collective Agreement is no longer in effect, the Employer cannot unilaterally make changes and must negotiate any changes with the Union.
17. What happens to my holidays?
During the strike, all vacation is cancelled. When the strike is over, your remaining vacation will be credited to you and will be rescheduled. Individual situations where vacations were pre scheduled will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
18. Do I have to picket?
Legally, you are not required to picket. However, the strength of a picket line often determines the outcome of job action, so more people on the line can lead to shorter strikes. As well, you only collect strike pay if you perform picket or other strike related duties.
19. What about members with religious exemptions, can they cross the picket line?
No. They can be subject to the trial procedure.
20. Can members just do child care or sit on a committee and never picket?
This will be decided by your Picket Line Committee. All members should be required to do picket duty, however, exceptions could be made in the case of disability, etc.
21. If we go on strike just prior to the normal pay period can the Employer withhold my pay cheque?
No, employees must be paid their earnings up to the date the strike commences on their next normal pay day in accordance with the Labour Standards Act.
22. How often and how long do people have to picket?
Required picket shifts are four hours, or as decided by the Local, in length per day, Monday to Friday. Shift selection will be on a first come - first serve basis. The earlier you register the better selection of shifts that will be available. You should remember that those members who are serving on the Bargaining Committee or Executive will all be working much longer days for the same strike pay.
23. What if I am not able to picket, am sick, etc?
The Employer will most likely discontinue your sick leave benefits. You will however, still be eligible for picket pay. If you are unable to picket due to health problems you will need to contact strike central. There may be other duties that you can perform like clerical work, helping out in headquarters, etc.
24. What happens if I live in a University owned facility (house)?
In 2005 we were advised by the Employer that they would not require you to relocate provided that you continued to maintain the property to the same standard as that previously. We would expect the same consideration this time.
25. What essential services will be provided during the strike?
At this time there is nothing designated, however, the Employer in this round of negotiations has indicated that agreement on an essential services protocol is required before we can reach a new Collective Agreement.
26. What about my mortgage, rent, credit cards, loans, etc.?
You are responsible for your debts. However, most financial institutions will help you put together a plan to deal with your individual situation should strike action occur. Many financial institutions will allow you to reduce payments or pay only interest charges during a strike. You will not lose your home or vehicles but may face additional interest charges.
27. What if I am experiencing financial or other problems, what can I do?
The Good and Welfare Committee will continue to operate during any job action to help members who are experiencing any problems as a result of the job action.
28. What if I am both a member of Local 1975 and a student at the University?
It is the intention of the Bargaining Committee to issue picket passes to all students so that they may continue to attend classes. You would be treated the same. This picket pass could only be used to attend to classes, not to work for the Employer.
29. If I am approached by the media what should I do?
Please refer them to the Bargaining Committee media spokespersons, the media will understand. Be careful what you say as it may be taken out of context and printed.
30. What about members who have not completed their probationary period. Can they be fired?
No. The probationary period may be extended by the length of the strike.
32. If a strike is called will the Government legislate us back to work?
The Employer has alluded to the fact that if the present Government changes, it is the Employers view that we would be legislated back to work.
33. How long could a strike last?
For as long as it takes to obtain a fair and equitable collective agreement.