POSTED ON January 30, 2017
Strike Mandate Vote

Web site - strike mandate vote title

Why we need a strike mandate

CUPE 2626 has been bargaining with the University of Ottawa since the beginning of the Summer. After 225+ days at the bargaining table, we have to conclude that the University’s best offer falls short of our needs. It is now time to send the University a clear message: student workers are willing to take a stance in favor of better work conditions, such as:

  • No cuts to our wages
  • Health and dental benefits
  • No tuition fee hikes
  • Closing the wage gap between TA/RAships and other jobs
  • Recognition of ‘graduate student’ status for student workers in professional programs

CUPE 2626 invites you to vote in favor of a strike mandate during it’s next General Assembly. March 2nd @ Café Nostalgica, registration starts at 6pm.

Questions? Contact us at

What is a strike mandate?

It is an important tool to reach an agreement that meets YOUR demands. Historically on campus, it has been a necessary step to push the University to sign an agreement.

The bargaining committee cannot initiate a strike without a strike mandate. A strike mandate requires a favorable vote in a General Assembly. The General Assembly can also decide to conduct a strike vote directly.

A strike mandate authorizes the bargaining committee to call a strike if deemed necessary. A strike mandate may be subject to specific conditions: For example, conditions regarding the start of a strike. In case of a strike, members participating in strike activities can be paid through the strike fund.

When the Employer refuses to hear our demands and when the bargaining process reaches an impasse, the primary purpose of a strike mandate is to demonstrate to the Employer that the bargaining committee benefits from the strong support of the Union members.

Strike FAQs

1. If we vote in favor of a strike mandate, will we be on strike? Will I have to stop working?

No. It means we will have the mandate to do so. The Union is still at the bargaining table with the University. A strike mandate is a critical bargaining leverage which helps us get a better deal for YOU.

2. If we go on strike, will I still get paid?

During a strike, the regular work done by CUPE 2626 members is suspended, i.e., that the University will no longer regularly pay members, even if they continue their work (what the union has strongly discouraged).

On the other hand, all members participating in strike efforts will be offset by the CUPE 2626 defense fund. The defense fund is in very good financial health, but if the strike lasted longer than expected, we are entitled to financial support from CUPE National.

The exact amount of ” strike pay” each member shall receive shall be determined during a General Assembly, but it can up to $ 300 per week go by regulations CUPE National.

3. Is it true that a strike would have a negative impact on the quality of research?

No, because any work related to the school curriculum (eg. dissertation writing, thesis project, courses, etc.) continues normally. The only difference is that the research assistants (funded by operating funds from the University and external financing … ie the research work you do for a teacher) is suspended.

On the other hand, the General Assembly (that’s you, the members!) may decide, when appropriate, to allow research assistants to continue working on vital research (eg. laboratory activity, research on animals, etc.) in order to maintain and continue their work.

Thus, the only major impact on research will be time. Obviously, without research assistants, an experiment or research article will be completed slower. It is therefore in the interest of the University to negotiate openly with the Union in order to ensure that any strike that occurs does not last long

4. Is it true that a strike would prevent University students to have access to the necessary training to continue their education in the future?

No. If there is a strike, the only functions affected are those that are related to the job. The strike in no way affects your student status

5. What happens if I cannot work at home? I really really really need to finish my research!

If your research is not connected to a research assistantship, you can continue to do work on campus without a problem (e.g., the library, study rooms, etc.). Only workplaces identified as related to your employment would be affected.

Again, If your research is considered essential to your academic program, please refer to question 3.

6. But, my research is related to my thesis!

Again, nothing prevents you from continuing research related to your thesis, when it is outside the scope of your employment. Thus, you can continue to write your thesis as required by your academic curriculum.

Again, If your research is considered essential to your academic program, please refer to question 3.

7. What preventative measures exist to allow people to work off campus?

At the moment, there are no precautionary measures that allow people to work off campus. In any case, if you do research for your dissertation (thesis project work for courses, etc..), it can continue as planned on campus. On the other hand, if the research you are doing is part of a research assistantship, the Union strongly encourages you – in case of strike – to suspend your work for it, both on campus and outside the campus.

8. Is there a difference between my research and my thesis work TA / RA?

Yes. The research you do as part of your thesis is connected to your status as a student enrolled at the university, while any research or work you do as part of an assistantship (research or teaching) is connected to an employment contract, i.e., your status as an employee of the university.

9. I must work, because otherwise I have no money!

The Union understands this, and it goes without saying that we do not want our members suffer financial losses due to the strike. That is why the Union provides financial compensation, more commonly called “strike pay” to members who participate strike efforts (e.g., picketing, banners, information distribution, etc..). For more details on strike pay, please refer to question 2.

10. A strike will force me to drop my studies, lack of money …

According to the decision of the General Assembly, the “strike pay” could be equivalent to the amount paid regular teaching or graduate research assistants, or $300 per week. For more details on “strike pay”, please refer to question 2.