While the bargaining team and Executive Committee want a strong strike mandate for strategic reasons, voting “yes” has consequences for individual members. It means that if QUFA and the Administration cannot come to an agreement during conciliation and QUFA has a strike mandate, members may have to strike (withdraw their labour) to convince the Administration to remove concessions or agree to changes in members’ working conditions. QUFA will organize strike activities and strike pay as well as pay for members’ benefit coverage during the strike, but a strike could mean financial hardship for many members. If the employer expects members to make up missed work when the strike ends, they usually agree to restore full compensation, but QUFA cannot guarantee that this will be the case with Queen’s Administration.
It is important to note that striking workers cannot be terminated for exercising their right to withhold their labour in a legal strike. Further, an employer cannot discipline someone or otherwise discriminate against them for having participated in a legal strike once the strike is over.
Given the legal framework set out by the Ministry, if conciliation began when classes resume in January, the earliest possible strike would be late January. It is more likely that the parties will engage in conciliated negotiations over a number of meetings. It is QUFA’s intention to use this time to work toward a reasonable settlement with the University and the Bargaining Team will remain at the table as long as progress is being made. If bargaining with the conciliator is not successful, the more likely timeline for a strike would be mid to late February.
This Strike Mandate FAQ explains how strikes work; if you have further questions regarding the strike process or mandate, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to answer these before the vote closes.
On the bright side, a “yes” vote may mean the Administration comes to the table in January prepared to discuss outstanding issues with a view to arriving at mutually agreeable outcomes.