CUPE 3906 Unit 1 Bargaining Blog
~ your issues, your process, your contract ~

What happens in the event of a strike

On August 11th, our Bargaining Team requested the support of the membership in a strong strike mandate to gain leverage at the negotiation table. While our Team has committed to bargaining throughout September and into October, we need to be prepared in the event that talks break down. The best way to avoid a strike is to prepare for one!
Here are answers to common questions asked by members concerning a strike. If you have any further questions or suggestions for “FAQ” questions, please contact This is a living document: watch for additions and updates in the coming months.

What happens to my TA pay if I go on strike?

If you are not working the employer can withhold your pay, however scholarship, bursaries and external funding monies cannot be withheld by the employer on the basis of TAs withdrawing their services.
In the event of a strike, you will receive strike pay from the Local and National Union’s Strike and Defense Funds in recompense for picket or other strike duties instead of TA pay. Strike pay is $200 for 20 hours of picket or strike duties per week. Our Local has a very healthy Strike and Defense Fund.

How long until I get strike pay?

As members of CUPE we have access to a national defense fund, which supplies our members with strike pay. CUPE strike pay is up to $200 per week for 20 hours of picket duty, but does not kick in until we have been on strike for 10 days. We expect to cover 100% of strike pay for the first 10 days out of our Local Strike and Defense Fund. In order to qualify for strike pay, members must participate on the picket line or in some similar work in support of the strike effort.

Can I cross a picket line in order to attend to my research project?

Your TA work is separate from your academic research commitments. If you have experiments that need your attention, your union would not ask you to jeopardize that work. We ask you not to do TA work during a strike: performing TA work during a strike is called scabbing. Scabbing prolongs a strike by weakening the picket line, forcing fewer members to perform strike duties for the gains that we all enjoy.

How long would a strike last?

It is difficult to predict the length of a strike because so many factors are involved. In 30 years, our Local has only been on one legal strike that lasted about 5 weeks.

Do I have to picket?

You need to picket or perform strike duty to receive strike pay. If you are unable to picket, the union will make accommodations for you to perform other kinds of strike duty. In the event of a strike, strike committee duties count as paid strike duty.

Will undergraduate classes be cancelled?

This decision is made by the Employer (the Senior Administration of the University).

What about child care and hardship?

The strike policy committee is working to provide assistance in the form of information on child care services and funds available for those members requiring child care to do picket duty. The committee is also working to determine a policy for member applications for hardship funds in the event of a strike. If you would like to sit on the strike policy committee or attend a strike policy committee meeting, please contact

Who can tell me what is going on?

  • The Bargaining and Bargaining Support Teams update provide the most up-to-date information on our bargaining blog:
  • You can also contact or with specific questions.
  • Attend General Membership Meetings:  General Membership Meeting notifications are posted on the blog and on departmental CUPE bulletin boards and are sent out via e-mail to all of our members. If you are a member and are not receiving e-mail updates, please contact
  • Watch out for active members visiting your departments in the fall.

How can I, personally, become more involved in what is going on?

The best way to stay informed and become involved is by joining our Bargaining Support and Strike Support Committees. We are always looking for more help. The mandate of the Strike Support committee is to prepare for the possibility of a strike and to ensure that a strike runs smoothly if we have one. Contact for more information, or if you are interested in attending a meeting.


4 Responses to “What happens in the event of a strike”

  1. It says that strike pay does not kick in until we have been on strike for ten days – does that mean that, even if we do strike duty (picket, in office, or whatever), we will not get paid for ten days (eg. we will lose ten day’s pay no matter what)? Or am I reading that incorrectly?

  2. So what happened at the negotiations that were to take place at 9 pm after the general meeting last night?

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