CUPE3908: Strong strike mandates rarely lead to strikes. Instead, they're key to negotiating good deals.

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About Strike Mandate Votes

See also: CUPE3908 Files for Conciliation

We (your bargaining team) advise all members to vote 'yes' on the strike mandate ballot. Why? It gives us the leverage we need to ensure that you get the best possible terms in a new Collective Agreement. We know that many of you understand this, and have been through this process before. But for those of you who haven't, and who are thinking about voting 'no', we've put together some responses to common concerns:

I don't want to go on strike.

Neither do we. A 'yes' vote doesn't automatically trigger a strike. Strike votes have been part of many negotiations in the University sector, but actual strikes are rare. In 2012, OPSEU workers at Trent used their strong strike mandate (95%) to negotiate a new agreement that included a 7.35% wage increase over three years.

Times are tough. We should accept what is offered and just be glad we have jobs.

What is currently offered includes a number of concessions (see this page for details). We'd see reductions to our already-limited Health Benefits Fund, and to the Professional Development Fund that allows us to keep current, conduct research, and share our work at conferences. Not only that, but we'd fall further behind our full-time colleagues, who will continue to earn higher wages due to their parity formula and yearly step increases.

Trent doesn't have any money. We should all do our part to help out.

Like most universities in Ontario, Trent has been affected by chronic underfunding. In particular, stagnant enrollment has meant we've been especially poorly-served by a funding formula that demands growth. We understand that. That's why, even though we lack the job security and benefits of other workers on campus, we've kept our wage demands in line with their budgeted increases.

This isn't my main source of income. I don't need the hassle of a strike.

We know this applies to many of you. We hope you'll consider not just yourself, but your colleagues who rely on these jobs to put food on the table. (See also "These aren't the jobs you're looking for" for a discussion of this issue)

I can't afford to go on strike.

The Union dues that members have paid in previous years have allowed the Local to build up a sizable strike fund to make sure we won't starve. Striking members will receive strike pay of up to $300/week for picket line duties. Remember that the one-time losses of a strike will almost certainly be outweighed by gains that apply to every future year.

Last modified: 03-Mar-14

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