Part 2: The Dollars-and-Cents of Strike Pay
The potential of job action is a likely cause of stress for our members. “If we went on strike, how could I afford my mortgage payments?” “What about my benefits?” “Will this have a long-term financial impact on my life?” In this installment, we focus on common financial concerns regarding the possibility of strike and other important facts regarding ULFA Member responsibilities to earn strike pay. By the end of this installment, we hope that you agree that ULFA Members will be well supported financially in the event of strike, placing Members in the driving seat so that they are free to decide without financial worry whether UL BoG proposals are acceptable in this crucial bargaining year.
Will I get paid in the event of a strike?
Yes. In the event of a strike, all dues-paying ULFA Members (tenured or non-tenured) who participate in duties assigned by the Job Action Committee are entitled to strike pay, in lieu of their regular remuneration from the Board.
Because ULFA’s Strike Fund is currently in very good financial standing, Members can expect to receive approximately $150.00 per calendar day plus core benefits (also see below) in the event of a strike. All members will receive the same amount, regardless of rank.
This means that members earning up to approximately $95,000/year should not be significantly financially impacted by a strike. It is recommended that members earning above $95,000/year set aside approximately ~7% of their monthly net salary for each expected month of job action in order to offset the difference between their current take home pay and what they can expect to earn during a strike.
To replace income lost during job action, ULFA recommends that Members earning more than $95k establish a personal job action saving account with sufficient funds for a job action lasting two to three times the national average for the post-secondary sector: i.e. equivalent to between 14% and 21% of their net monthly income.
If a strike happens, how long can I expect to be on strike?
The average strike in the post-secondary sector lasts about 21 days (based on CAUT data), although, due to public pressure that is brought to bear on senior administration, they are often much shorter than this.
To be prudent, Members should be prepared for a strike to last two to three times the average length to ensure that it has the intended effect (i.e. to plan for job action lasting two to three months).
Essentially, the more prepared our Membership is, the less likely it is that a strike will occur and the more effective our ability to negotiate on key issues during bargaining will be. This is because strike preparations and the threat represented therein provides a sobering reminder to employers about the importance of making meaningful progress at the bargaining table.
Length of job action
Estimated total savings required to replace lost income for Members earning $95k+ (members earning less that $95k should experience minimal disruption).
Average (<1 month)
7% of 1 month net salary
2x average (< 2 months)
14% of 1 month net salary
3x average (< 3 months)
21% of 1 month net salary
What happens to my pension contributions and benefits during a strike?
For the duration of a strike, Members will not receive pensionable earnings and no pension contributions will be made by the Board. However, because strikes typically lasts less than 2 months, a strike should not have any significant effect on retirement or pension earnings for Members.
Members will maintain all the core benefits outlined below during a strike.
Group Life Insurance
LTD – Long term disability benefits
EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program)
Optional member life insurance, optional spousal life insurance and ADD premiums (Accidental Death and Dismemberment) are not included in the benefits covered by ULFA during strike or job action as they are not part of the benefit coverage in the current Collective Agreement. ULFA is currently in discussions with ULethbridge HR staff to determine how members might continue the payment of those optional premiums without a lapse in coverage. We hope to have a solution in place by May, 2021.