Collective Bargaining 2009
Strike Q & A's
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.)
1. Our collective agreement
must expire (Mar. 31, 2009).
2. Bargaining Team must
file notice to bargain (Jan. 8, 2009).
3. Bargaining Team must
meet with a Conciliator at least once (Began in April).
4. 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.)
5. Bargaining Team must
file for a "No Board" Report.
6. 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
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
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
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:
1. You’ve signed your OPSEU
union card and filled out your; Membership Personal Information Form (Form
2. You perform strike
duties (i.e. picket duty) for 20 hours per week;
3. 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
How much is strike pay?
Weeks 1-3 (per day)
Weeks 4+ (per day)
What happens to my benefit
coverage during a strike?
1. OPSEU will attempt to
negotiate with the employer to keep paying the premium;
2. If management will not
keep paying the premium, but will continue coverage, OPSEU will pay the
3. If management refuses to
continue coverage, OPSEU will provide a limited benefit package through
OPSEU Joint Trustee Benefit Plan;
4. 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
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
1. Hold off plans for any
major purchases until you know we have a deal;
2. Pay off your credit
cards in advance of the strike if you can;
3. Talk to your financial
institutions to let them know you could be going on strike;
4. Save as much money as
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
1. Mortgages/rent - talk to
the bank or credit union and negotiate a plan for the duration before the
next payment is due.
2. Taxes - ask if an
accommodation can be arranged to defer property taxes.
3. Utilities - request to
spread your payments.
4. Loans - if your lender
won't allow a deferral, consider refinancing to reduce the payments.
5. Credit cards - charging
purchases while on strike is not recommended, pay the minimum charge or use
a line of credit with lower interest.
6. 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.