Why hold a Strike Mandate Vote?
A strong strike mandate forces the Employer to negotiate seriously and can help us avert a strike or lockout. The higher the turnout and the stronger the “yes” vote, the more power we have at the bargaining table—and the sooner we can reach a deal. However, a weak mandate, or no mandate at all (i.e. a “No” vote), means that the Employer will be emboldened to be aggressive in bargaining, which may result in further concessions against ULFA or a lockout.
Who can vote in a strike mandate vote?
All active ULFA members who have held a contract within the past two months are eligible to vote. This includes University of Lethbridge Faculty, Instructors, Professional Librarians, Academic Assistants and Sessional Lecturers. If you have taught a U of L course, performed research or service as an academic staff Member in the last two months, you are eligible to vote on a strike mandate.
Does a “yes” vote for a Strike Mandate mean that we will definitely go on strike?
A “yes” vote does not automatically mean we are going on strike. It simply means that the membership has given the ULFA Executive Committee the ability to call a legal strike if an agreement cannot be reached. In the Canadian post-secondary sector, there are many more positive strike votes than actual strikes. There are often improved offers of settlement after a positive strike vote, or in the 72 hours between a notice of strike and the actual strike commencing. This is because employers negotiate more seriously when there is a strong strike vote and settle before a strike or lockout occurs. That said, it is important not to vote for a strike that you are not prepared to participate in because the ULFA Negotiating Team and Executive will use your support as an indication of how firm they can be at the table.
How do I vote?
Following the mandatory two-week cooling-off period (that began January 17th after mediation ended), you will receive an official anonymous electronic ballot by email. Details for an upcoming strike vote date and further details are forthcoming. If a settlement between the U of L Board and ULFA is reached sooner, any planned strike vote or positive strike mandate will be annulled, ultimately pending ratification of the Membership themselves.
In the event that we do have a positive strike vote, and end up on strike, what will this mean for me?
ULFA has approved a Job Action Policy for further information on details about what a strike or lockout may look like. Moveover, the ULFA Job Action Committee previously put together two Job Action 101 blogs to explain what a strike could look like for members and provide information about timelines, picketing, the difference between a strike and lockout, strike pay and benefits, and expectations of/implications for members during a strike. The two Job Action 101 blogs can be found here:
Job Action 101 (Part 1): https://www.ulfa.ca/job_actions/job-action-101/
Job Action 101 (Part 2): https://www.ulfa.ca/job_actions/job-action-101-part-2/
What should I tell my students?
Check out our Student FAQ for information to share with undergraduate students. The Graduate Students Association has also prepared this document for graduate students about how job action may impact their studies.
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