When would we go on strike?
Before we go on strike, all the following events must take place: (These steps may not necessarily be in order.)
- Our collective agreement must expire (Mar. 31, 2009).
- Bargaining Team must file notice to bargain (Jan. 8, 2009).
- Bargaining Team must meet with a Conciliator at least once (Began in April).
- Members must vote in favour of giving the Team a strike mandate (May 22 – Members voted 93% in favour of giving the Team a strike mandate.)
- Bargaining Team must file for a "No Board" Report.
- Once the Labour Board issues the "No Board" (usually 5 days after filing) a 17 day count down begins to a strike deadline.
What about essential services?
Under the law, the union cannot go on strike, and the employer cannot lock workers out, until an essential services agreement has been negotiated.
In the case of the LCBO, this will apply only to a small handful of workers such as stationary engineers who may need to work some hours to prevent damage to LCBO equipment. The vast majority of OPSEU members at the LCBO will not be affected by essential services.
Are we definitely going on strike?
A strike vote does not necessarily mean we will go out on strike.
A strong strike vote provides power for your bargaining team to achieve the demands that you, the membership have put forward. A strike mandate is a powerful tool for the bargaining team to take to the table.
Our Team still hopes to be able to reach a deal without a strike. But if the employer doesn’t provide a reasonable offer, the vote gives the Team the ability to file for a "No Board" report and set a strike deadline.
Who will participate in the strike?
ALL bargaining unit members, including seasonal and temporary workers. See essential service question above for limited exceptions.
Will I receive any money while we're on strike?
You will if:
- You’ve signed your OPSEU union card and filled out your; Membership Personal Information Form (Form B);
- You perform strike duties (i.e. picket duty) for 20 hours per week;
- The strike lasts more than one day. (In a strike lasting more than one day, you will receive strike pay after your first week of picket duty from the first day you go out.)
How much is strike pay?
Weeks 1-3 (per day)
Weeks 4+ (per day)
What happens to my benefit coverage during a strike?
- OPSEU will attempt to negotiate with the employer to keep paying the premium;
- If management will not keep paying the premium, but will continue coverage, OPSEU will pay the premium;
- If management refuses to continue coverage, OPSEU will provide a limited benefit package through OPSEU Joint Trustee Benefit Plan;
- When requested, OPSEU will also provide benefit coverage for employees who normally receive a percentage in lieu of benefits.
If I am on vacation when a strike is called, what happens to my vacation?
When a strike is called you have no collective agreement and you are on strike, not on vacation. No vacation pay will be paid to you once the strike has started.
Can I get short-term disability when I'm on strike?
No, you have no collective agreement and therefore no short-term disability.
What happens if I'm on short-term disability when a strike starts?
The employer will stop short-term sick leave benefits, but you can apply for Employment Insurance (E.I.) sickness benefits.
What happens if I'm on long-term disability when a strike starts?
Your benefits would still continue because LTD is not paid directly by the employer.
If I’m getting WSIB benefits, will they continue during a strike?
Yes, provided you continue to qualify medically and cooperate with WSIB approved programs.
If I am on maternity/parental leave, do I receive any benefits?
Yes, you will still receive your E.I. entitlements, but you will not continue to receive any top up from the employer. You will also receive strike pay if you perform strike duties.
How can I prepare for a possible strike?
- Hold off plans for any major purchases until you know we have a deal;
- Pay off your credit cards in advance of the strike if you can;
- Talk to your financial institutions to let them know you could be going on strike;
- Save as much money as you can.
I have financial commitments that I must make such as: mortgage payments, loans, etc. What happens to them?
You will still be responsible for paying your bills, but you can often negotiate a hold on payment in the short-term in the event of a strike. You can get a copy of a sample letter from your local treasurer.
Tips for budgeting for a strike
- Mortgages/rent – talk to the bank or credit union and negotiate a plan for the duration before the next payment is due.
- Taxes – ask if an accommodation can be arranged to defer property taxes.
- Utilities – request to spread your payments.
- Loans – if your lender won't allow a deferral, consider refinancing to reduce the payments.
- Credit cards – charging purchases while on strike is not recommended, pay the minimum charge or use a line of credit with lower interest.
- Insurance – investigate ways to spread out the premiums.
How can I help my local prepare for a strike?
Your local union will need many people to help run a successful strike campaign. Volunteer for local communications, finances and strike duty committees. Making signs, scrounging items, and many other tasks are key to a well-organized strike.