Strike FAQ

CUPE 3912 Fall 2022 BBQ

1. What is a strike?

A strike is when employees stop working to pressure the Employer to agree to their demands in collective bargaining.

Typically, this is paired with employees picketing.

2. What is picketing?

Picketing is protesting outside the workplace in support of the union’s demands.

3. Who can picket?

While pickets are primarily composed of union members on strike, anyone can join a picket. Only union members on strike, however, are eligible for strike pay.

4. What is strike pay?

Strike pay is a replacement source of income for union members on strike. It’s primarily paid for by union dues that are collected from your paycheck and is completely tax free. You can think of it like employment insurance for striking.

Our strike pay comes from CUPE National, the head organization of all CUPE locals in Canada.

5. How do I collect strike pay?

Strike pay is earned through picketing or performing other union activities while on strike. Strike pay begins at $15/hour and ramps up to $20/hour the longer we are on strike.

Period of Strike Strike pay
Weeks 1-7 $15.00/hour
Weeks 8-11 $17.50/hour
Weeks 12-15 $18.75/hour
Weeks 16+ $20.00/hour

Typically, CUPE unions require 20 hours/week of picketing or other union activities to qualify for strike pay, but CUPE National commonly reduces this requirement for unions like ours composed of members who do not work full time. A member on strike can picket for as long as they want, but can only earn strike pay for a total of 20 hours per week.

6. Can the Employer fire or punish me for striking?

The Employer cannot legally fire or punish you for picketing or performing any other union activities.

7. Can someone else do my work?

The Employer is legally allowed to ask someone else to complete your work, but they are not allowed to punish them in any way for refusing to do your work.

8. What is a “scab”?

A scab is an individual who crosses the picket line to do their own work or the work of another striking union employee. These individuals are unhelpful and destructive to the union’s efforts to better your working conditions. Scabs often face social repercussions for their behaviour. Their activity is often recorded and published online by their fellow workers.

9. What is a “scrape”?

A scrape is a supervisor who threatens or intimidates their employees to cross the picket line. Simply put, scrapes create scabs. Forcing or pressuring unionized employees who are on strike to work is illegal (see above). If a scab faces some social repercussions, a scrape faces significantly more if not also legal repercussions.

10. What can I do if my supervisor is pressuring me to be a scab?

Immediately contact the member on the executive board that represents your campus. You will be guided on the appropriate actions to take in order to exercise your right to strike. Impeding a member from striking is illegal and can have repercussions for the impedor.

11. When do we go on strike?

Strategically timing the strike is very important for the strike’s success, especially in the educational sector. One very important aspect to consider when timing a strike is whether members have their contracts or at least a first paystub. These are essential for ensuring members can get strike pay as they are needed to confirm that a member is on strike as opposed to just not working when a strike occurs.

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