Strike FAQ

When/where is the strike vote?

  • The strike vote will be conducted online through a secured site called “Simply Voting.” Voting begins Friday, January 17th and concludes on Thursday, January 23rd.

What does Voting Yes on a Strike Vote mean?

  • Voting yes on a strike vote signals that you are unwilling to accept the employer’s most recent offer. Collective bargaining allows us to decide, as a group, under what conditions we are willing to work. A strong strike vote – or a majority “yes” vote with over 85% of our members voting – signals to the employer that the membership is unwilling to work under the conditions they are offering. This is where the strength of collective bargaining is found! Our local has a long history of strong strike mandates at well over 90% showing their support for their elected bargaining team.
  • A successful strike vote does not mean there will be a strike. It simply authorizes the bargaining team to call a strike should negotiations fail. In other words, a strong yes vote puts the Union in the best possible position to secure a good deal without needing to call a strike.

What does Voting No on a Strike Vote mean?

  • Voting no on a strike vote signals that you are willing to accept the deal the employer has offered. An unsuccessful strike vote (a majority of “no” votes) would essentially force the bargaining team to accept whichever deal the Employer has last put on the table. An unsuccessful strike vote, or even a successful strike vote that is weak, leaves the bargaining team with few options other than accepting the deal and bringing it back to the membership to ratify. In other words, a failed strike vote or even a weak though successful strike vote would be disastrous for the union’s ability to secure a better agreement for the membership.

Who can vote in a Unit 1strike vote?

  • Any Unit 1 Member in Good Standing of CUPE Local 3908.

Does the Local have a strike policy?

  • Yes!

Policy 1.03 Strikes

The President of the Local and the Chief Spokesperson of the Local Bargaining Team shall be the sole spokespersons for the Local in relations with all news media. A Strike Headquarters shall be established in close proximity to, but outside, Trent University property, and shall become the administrative centre of the Union for the duration of the strike. Except for valid medical reasons, or reasons considered by the Executive to be valid, every Member shall perform a minimum of picket-line duties in order to qualify for strike pay, as outlined in the CUPE National Constitution.

CUPE 3908 will maintain a hardship fund and consider paying strike pay for members who currently do not have a contract as long as there remains savings in the strike fund. It is understood that since there are two Units in the Local, no more than half the strike fund shall be used in any strike. Should the number of Units change, the strike fund allocation shall be adjusted to reflect this.

The Executive shall appoint a Strike Committee, Strike Coordinator(s), Picket Captains, Information Team, Liaison Officer, and External Representative, whose duties are outlined in this policy. This policy covers picket duties, strike pay, child care, food and refreshment, toilet facilities, and communication materials that need to be arranged during a strike.

As per Article 15.4 of the CUPE 3908 Bylaws, in the event of a strike this Strike Policy must be presented to the membership for approval.

What is a lockout?

  • A lockout is when the employer decides to bar unionized employees from working. During a lockout, unionized employees are prevented from working and do not receive pay.

What is a strike?

  • A strike is a work stoppage caused by the refusal of employees to go to work in support of a bargaining position or to protest some aspect of the employer’s proposed terms and conditions of employment.

When can the employer lockout unionized employees and when can a union strike?

  • During bargaining, either party may file for conciliation. Conciliation is a step in bargaining where a conciliation officer is appointed by the Ministry of Labour to assist the parties in avoiding a strike or lockout. During conciliation, either party may request a “no-board report.” Once a no-board report has been issued, the union is in a possible lockout or strike position at 12:01 a.m. on the 17th calendar day from the date the no-board was issued. On the 17th day, the employer is in a legal position to lockout unionized employees and the union is in a legal position to call a strike.

Once we are in a strike or lockout position, are we automatically locked out or on strike?

  • A lockout or strike is not automatic. There is no strike or lockout unless the employer advises the union it is locking out the unionized employees or the union, i.e. the bargaining committee, advises the employer it is striking.

Will there be a strike or lockout?

  • The Union does not want to strike. We want to make every effort to reach a negotiated settlement. Only the employer will know if there will be a lockout.

If there is a strike or lockout, who is eligible for strike pay?

  • You are eligible for strike pay during a lockout or a strike if:
    • You are a member of Local 3908 in good standing (paying dues) and;
    • You have registered your name on the Strike Pay Application Tally Sheet on your first day of picketing. Your picket captain will have this roster.
    • You have signed in for each picket shift with your picket captain on the Daily Report

Are on the active payroll of Trent University at the beginning of the strike or lockout and;

  • Participate in the strike or lockout by performing assigned strike duties for at least ____ hours per calendar week to a maximum of ____ hours per day.
  • Members who do not participate by performing strike duties without just cause are not eligible for strike pay.

How much is strike pay?

  • We are currently calculating this and will post this number shortly.

How many hours a day will I need to picket?

  • We are currently calculating this and will post this number shortly.

How can I prepare for a possible strike or lockout?

  • Ensure that the Union has your personal email address and phone number so that you can be reached when you are not at work. Please register for strike pay and picket duty by signing the Labour Dispute – Picket Sign-up form.
  • During a strike or lockout, you would not have access to the workplace. You should remove all of your personal belongings in advance.

I don’t want to go on strike or be locked out. How can we avoid a strike or lockout?

  • The best way to avoid a strike or a lockout is to actively participate in the union’s campaign to defend and improve our jobs. There are lots of ways to get involved:
    • Write an email to your Chair, Dean, and even the President and Vice Provost to tell them you support the bargaining team and the improvements we are seeking at the bargaining table.
    • Attend CUPE 3908 General Member Meetings and events
    • Follow us on Twitter: @cupe3908
    • For more information on how to get involved, contact the Bargaining Team at

For questions or concerns, please contact: 705-808-4442

January 15, 2020

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