We (your bargaining team) advise all members to vote 'yes' on the strike mandate ballot on coming up. 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:
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 2014, CUPE3908 Unit 1 members used their strong strike mandate (90%+) to negotiate a new agreement that included wage increases and improvements to benefits without ever setting foot on a picket line.
Like most universities in Ontario, Trent has been affected by chronic underfunding. Stagnant enrollment has meant we've been especially poorly-served by a funding formula that demands growth.
We understand that. That's why we've kept our wage demands in line with their budgeted increases. With tuition frees set to rise dramatically over the duration of the next contract, our wages must keep pace with
We know this applies to many of you. In spite of this, however, we hope you'll consider not just yourself, but your colleagues who rely on these jobs to put food on the table.
Without a strong strike mandate, there is no pressure on the Employer to make their best offer. They can present a ‘low-ball’ offer and force the membership to decide whether to accept it or face a lockout.
The Union dues that members have paid in previous years enabled the Local to build up a sizable strike fund to make sure we won't starve. Also, as members of CUPE, we will receive support from CUPE National's strike fund. 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.