What is a Strike Mandate?
A strike mandate is a bargaining tool that can be used to secure a better deal at the table. It does not always result in a strike. The strike mandate vote gives direct explicit empowerment to our bargaining team and helps our team succeed in negotiating a better contract.
It authorizes the YUFA executive committee to call a strike if a fair deal cannot be reached. Strike mandates are arrived at through a secret ballot e-vote run by YUFA. A majority of those voting must be in favour of a strike mandate in order for the bargaining team to be empowered. The more members who vote in favour of a strike mandate, the more leverage YUFA’s bargaining team will have at the table to avert a strike.
Why should I give the Bargaining Team a Strike Mandate?
A strong strike mandate sends an unequivocal message that the YUFA membership stands behind its Bargaining Team and our bargaining proposals. Strike preparedness increases the Bargaining Team’s leverage.
Do negotiations continue after a strike mandate is received?
Yes. A strong strike mandate vote puts us in a stronger position to bring in a third-party mediator or to make progress in conciliation. Conciliation is a process offered by the Ministry of Labour to provide help in reaching a collective agreement. Conciliators focus on getting a collective agreement settled. Conciliation is mandatory before the parties can engage in a strike or lockout. It can be requested by either side and is a common step of the bargaining process. YUFA filed for conciliation on February 4th, 2022. YUFA has also sought the assistance of a mediator.
As a YUFA member, how can I help YUFA reach a fair and equitable settlement with the Employer?
You can help by attending meetings and in-person bargaining updates, signing our open letter here, reading bargaining updates carefully here, and talking about issues with your YUFA colleagues, representatives and officers, your students, and other members of the York community. YUFA is here to help you navigate these conversations. You can reach out to us at [email protected] for support or information. You can also volunteer with the Communications Team or attend Stewards’ Council meetings to organize in your units.
Does a strike mandate lead to a strike?
In most cases, it does not. Often a strong strike mandate alone is sufficient to get the Employer to take the union seriously in negotiations. There is an extensive process that must occur before YUFA would take a strike position even if we have a strike mandate vote:
1. YUFA, the Employer, or both apply for conciliation
2. A conciliator is appointed and conciliation dates agreed to;
3. There is at least one conciliation meeting in the attempt to reach an agreement
4. Conciliation reaches an impasse
5. The Ministry issues a “no-board” report. There is a seventeen-day waiting period. After all of these steps, YUFA Executive Committee can call a strike if and when there seemed to be no other way to reach an agreement. After seventeen days, the Employer could lock out YUFA members.
6. A strike or lockout does not happen overnight; there is plenty of advance warning and significant planning involved.
Do I need to be worried about a possible strike or lockout?
At this stage, you do not. However, you should be aware that a strike or lockout is possible, and you should become familiar with the vocabulary and practice of legal strike action. YUFA will continue to report on the status of bargaining and will advise the membership if a deal cannot be reached.
While a strike is unlikely, and your Bargaining Team is working very hard to avoid one, it is always important to be financially prudent and to plan ahead. Strikes are much less frequent than strike mandates, and lockout is a rare event at Canadian universities. In the unlikely event of a strike, YUFA will rely on YUFA and CAUT defence funds to provide financial support (i.e. strike pay) for members on strike.
How can I stay informed and get involved?
YUFA will continue to produce virtual bargaining updates and we encourage our members to attend our general membership meeting at 1pm on Tuesday, February 22, and all future meetings. These meetings allow us to have candid conversations with our members about bargaining. Please continue to look for email and social media updates as well. The more involved our members are in the process, the stronger we are at the bargaining table – remember, action works!!!
If you wish to get involved with mobilizing for a strong strike mandate vote, please contact YUFA for further information.