1. What is a strike?
A strike is when employees stop working to pressure the Employer to agree to their demands in collective bargaining.
Employees on strike receive strike pay from their union, while the Employer is not paying them.
2. What is a “strike mandate”?
A strike mandate means that CUPE 3912 members authorize a strike if the Employer refuses to agree to a fair collective agreement.
A strong strike mandate is the best way to avoid a strike, because it shows the Employer that:
- we are serious about our demands for fair working conditions, and
- we are unified and willing to take action to protect our rights, if necessary.
3. What is a “strike vote”?
A strike vote is the process for members to decide whether to approve a strike mandate.
4. Who can vote?
CUPE 3912 members who are employed in the current term are eligible to vote on a strike mandate at each of the universities where they are employed.
- Dalhousie: Teaching assistants, demonstrators, markers, hourly-paid instructors and per-course part-time instructors.
- MSVU and SMU: Per-course part-time instructors.
- The Language Centre (TLC): Full-time and part-time instructors.
- If you are employed at more than one university this term, you can vote at both or all three universities.
5. Why should I vote?
A strong strike mandate is an important tool for making the Employer agree to a fair collective agreement.
The more members vote Yes on a strike vote:
- the more likely the Employer is to agree to a fair collective agreement; and
- the less likely that we actually have to go on strike to protect our rights.
Members who do not vote are counted as voting against a strike mandate under Nova Scotia legislation.
6. How can I vote?
Voting will be online. You will receive an email with an invitation to vote.
7. When will the strike votes be held?
- TLC: TBA
- Dalhousie: On March 25, 2022, we had a successful strike vote and authorized a strike to be called if necessary.
- SMU: On December 1-2, 2022, we had a successful strike vote and authorized a strike to be called if necessary.
- MSVU: December 16-19, 2022, we had a successful strike vote and authorized a strike to be called if necessary.
8. When is a strike vote successful?
To secure a strike mandate, more than 50% of all current employees must vote Yes.
- The more members vote Yes, the stronger the strike mandate.
- Not voting is counted as voting No (under Nova Scotia law).
9. When would a strike actually be held?
- SMU: TBA
- MSVU: TBA
- TLC: TBA
- Dalhousie: We were on strike from October 19, 2022 until November 11, 2022.
10. How can I pay my bills if I go on strike?
CUPE 3912 members actively on strike receive strike pay.
- $300/week (tax free) initially, and higher if the strike is longer.
- Members must be current employees and perform 20 hours per week of strike duties to receive strike pay. Accommodations may be made (e.g., online duties rather than picketing).
- We can also create a hardship fund to support members who might experience financial hardship during a strike.
11. Does the amount of my strike pay depend on the number of hours in my contract?
No. As long as you perform 20 hours of strike duties per week, you are eligible to the same amount of strike pay regardless of whether your contract is for 1 hour or 10 hours per week.
12. Will going on strike affect my student status?
No. Your student status does not depend on your employment.
13. What happens with students’ grades during and after a strike?
While the strike is ongoing, you do not submit any grades. Once the strike is over, you will be submitting the grades and the Employer will have to pay for the work that you perform.