days until our Collective Agreement expires, we are preparing, we are united and we will make change.

Facts about a CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) Strike and access to CUPE National Strike Fund

In March 2025, our 10-year Collective Agreement will expire. We have already started to prepare as your Executive and want to ensure our members are prepared too. During this 10-year Collective Agreement we have faced unprecedented challenges from COVID to skyrocketing inflation and the cost of living, alongside all the unpaid work our members provide. We have attempted to address the cost of living with the employer, but they have been unwilling to listen without significant concessions from our members. This is why we want to prepare our members now! Although your Executive will work towards a Collective Agreement that addresses all our concerns, the need to prepare to assert our right to strike is already becoming very apparent. We have had a lot of questions coming in on this and want to ensure all members are given the same information. We felt it necessary to have the “conversation”. Please see below a preliminary Q & A regarding CUPE’s Strike Fund as a part of our ongoing efforts to educate the membership. Please note this is for all members covered under the Collective Agreement, both Mainline and Rouge.

Q and A:

Q: What is the CUPE National Strike Fund?
A: CUPE National puts aside 5% of any per capita tax (Union Dues) for strike benefits, campaigns to avert strikes.

Q: How much does CUPE have in the Strike Fund?
A: As of Sept 2023, National Secretary Treasurers Report: Total assets in the National Strike Fund as of June 30, 2023 were $132.8 million.

Q: When does strike pay begin?
A: A member who is entitled to strike benefits under Stike Fund Regulations shall receive strike pay beginning on the first day of the strike.

Q: How much money does a member receive while out on strike?
A: National Strike fund provisions:
For each calendar week, maximum strike pay is $300 for a minimum of 20 hours of picketing or completing other assigned duties.

Starting with the 8th week of the strike, strike pay is increased to $350 per week, for a minimum of 20 hours of picketing or completing other assigned duties.

Starting with the 12th week of the strike, strike pay is increased to $375 per week, for a minimum of 20 hours of picketing or completing other assigned duties.

Starting with the 16th week of the strike, strike pay is increased to $400 per week, for a minimum of 20 hours of picketing or completing other assigned duties.

Q: How is Strike Pay paid out?
A: Each hour spent on the picket line will be recorded by a Picket Captain and submitted to Strike Benefits Committee for review. If you have met the requirements, a cheque will be cut and distributed weekly at the picket line.

Q: I have heard that the Airline Division also pays strike pay on top of what we get from CUPE National. What is the amount we receive and what are the requirements?
A: The Division Defence Fund shall pay benefits of $30.00 per day, up to a maximum of $150.00 per week, in addition to the CUPE Strike Fund entitlement for the first six months of a work stoppage. In the event of a work stoppage progressing beyond six months, the Council of Presidents has the discretion to increase its contributions to striking or locked out members by up to $50.00 per week.

Benefits will be paid in the case of a strike or lockout recognized by the CUPE National Strike Fund Regulations for the duration of the work stoppage or until Division funds are depleted.

Q: What do I have to do as a member to be entitled to Strike Pay?
A: To be eligible for strike benefits, a member must fulfill the following requirements:

(a) be in good standing, according to the CUPE Constitution, before a strike begins. For the purpose of this provision, a Rand Formula (Union dues) payee who makes regular contributions to the Strike Fund is considered to be a member in good standing;

(b) complete and sign a Strike Pay Application in the form provided by Picket Captain

(c) been on the active payroll of the employer who is subject to the strike action at the beginning of the strike; and,

(d) participate in the strike by performing assigned strike duties for at least 20 hours per calendar week. However, when deemed appropriate by the Strike Benefits Committee, and when approved by the National Secretary-Treasurer, schedule and hours of picketing can be designed differently to reflect the workplace and/or accommodate a member or group of members.

Q: Can I hold another job while on strike?
A: Yes, but you would still need to meet the requirements to receive strike pay.

Q: Do I still have benefits if I am on strike?
The Strike Fund shall pay from day one of a strike or lock-out, group life and group extended health premiums for the members entitled to strike pay for the whole period of the strike, if the premiums are not prepaid.

Where the employer refuses to continue to pay its share of the insurance premiums, thus jeopardizing the group life and extended health coverage, the Strike Fund shall pay the full premiums for this coverage for the duration of the strike.

Payment will be issued upon receipt of a list of employees for whom premiums are being claimed,  showing the type of coverage held by each member and the rate of premium applicable.
Where the employer’s insurance company refuses to continue coverage for group life and group extended health premiums for the members, CUPE will ensure members don’t suffer any break in coverage for the duration of the strike.

If an illness is declared during a strike, and where no Short Term Disability (STDP) or Long Term Disability (LTDP) is approved by the insurance company, or if the Insurance company stops payment of STDP or LTDP because of a strike, CUPE will provide the member affected with weekly strike pay in lieu of STDP/LTDP

The Union always recommends that you seek clarity directly.  Please remember we are NOT in a strike position, nor have we commenced bargaining.  This is to clarify the multitude of misinformation online in regard to what strike pay would be, how it’s paid and where it comes from.  We felt it prudent to advise and inform all members so they were aware, and it can be clarified.

As always, if you require further information, you can simply reply to this email, and it will be directed to your Component Officers in a timely fashion for a reply.

Thank you for all you do online, wear your Union Pin with pride, assist one another over the holiday period and know we are here around the clock if needed.

In solidarity,