What is a strike vote?

A strike vote must be held before a strike is legal. The vote is done by secret ballot and all employees in the bargaining unit can participate in the vote. A successful strike vote authorizes the union’s bargaining committee to call a strike if no agreement is reached.

Does a ‘yes’ vote mean that we’re going on strike?

A strong strike mandate vote does not necessarily mean we will strike, but it does indicate to the Employer that we are ready to do so if necessary. A strike vote authorizes the bargaining committee to call for strike action which can include things like an overtime ban, rotating strikes or a full out strike.

What happens after a successful strike mandate vote?

If we achieve a successful strike vote it will send a strong message to the employer that employees are not satisfied with how contract negotiations are going and that they should reconsider their bargaining position. We will take this strong mandate to future bargaining dates, and we hope that will encourage our employer to revise their approach to negotiations and to engage in meaningful discussions about our key issues.

If the employer still doesn’t change their bargaining position, then the bargaining committee and our local leadership will consider what type of action to take next.

What does “being on strike” actually mean?

“Being on strike” means bargaining unit members withdraw their labour power. This means that no employment-related duties are completed.

Do I get paid if I’m on strike?

Yes. Strike pay starts the first day of a strike. The employer must pay employees their earnings up to the date the strike commences on their next normal pay day in accordance with Employment Standards.

There are two sources of strike pay. CUPE National and CUPE BC. A member who is entitled to strike benefits shall receive strike pay from:

  • CUPE NATIONAL beginning on the 1st day of the strike. For each calendar week, maximum strike pay is $300 for a minimum of 20 hours of picketing or completing other assigned duties.
  • Normal strike schedule is 5 days a week, 4 hours per day.
  • Starting with the 8th week of the strike, strike pay is increased to $350 per week.
  • Starting with the 12th week of the strike, strike pay is increased to $375 per week.
  • Starting with the 16th week of the strike, strike pay is increased to $400 per week.
  • CUPE BC strike pay starts on the 3rd calendar day of the strike. Amount- $15 per day up to a maximum of $75.00 per week.
  • In total you will receive $75.00 per day (to a maximum of 5 days per week) when you fulfill the requirements of strike duty.
  • All members whether full-time or part-time, temporary, casual or the Bargaining Committee receive the same rate of strike pay.

What do I have to do to get strike pay?

You must perform picket duties. Which means, you must walk a picket line for 4 hours/day for 5 days a week. If you are not physically able to walk a picket line, there are other duties that can be done.

You would need to contact the Strike Coordinator to let them know you require an accommodation. The accommodation must be verified that it is for medical reasons.

Where will the picket lines be?

In a strike, there will be a limited number of picket locations with a focus on larger sites with a lot of public visibility. The Union will provide picket location information to all members if there is a strike. Most members will not be picketing at their own job site.

What about my benefits?

The CUPE 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.

Pension – Pension plan deductions will not be paid by CUPE. Contributions are suspended during a strike and no pensionable service is accumulated.

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.

What if I am on another kind of leave (WCB, EI, sick leave, vacation)?

If a member is on a leave when the strike commences (e.g., sick leave, vacation leave, WorkSafe, or other approved leave), the leave continues for its duration.

What if I have to work an essential services shift?

Essential services shifts will be shared amongst members qualified to work in that area. If you do work a shift, you will get paid normally from the Employer.

Am I eligible for Employment Insurance while on strike?