Policy and Advice Statement with respect to Strikes by Members of Another Bargaining Unit

Adopted September 22, 1978 and amended November 15, 2002 and February 28, 2014

The Association recognizes that one of the principles of unionism is that a union member should respect the request of other members of the union movement that they honour a picket line. However, decisions of the Ontario Labour Relations Board indicate that an Association-promoted refusal by an employee to cross a picket line set up by another union may constitute a strike which would violate the Labour Relations Act and the collective agreement. In light of this the Association must advise its membership as follows:

  1. In the event of a legal strike against the Board of Governors by another union, members of the Association shall not undertake the work of those employees who are involved in such a strike. In such a situation members should also be alert to violations of our own contract or of the law, such as a reduction of services or unsafe or unsanitary conditions. Any attempt to compel members of the Association to do the work of striking employees or assist their replacements outside their normal duties or other violations of our own contract should be protested through the Grievance Procedures of our contract.
  2. In the event of a legal strike by another union, members should also be aware of the fact that students may have conscientious objections to crossing a picket line. It is the view of the Association that such conscientious objection should be respected without prejudice to the individual student and that members should take appropriate measures to accommodate such objections.
  3. A mass refusal, promoted by the Association, to cross picket lines established at the University campus may constitute an illegal strike and subject the Association to appropriate penalties for violation of the Ontario Labour Relations Act and the collective agreement, particularly if members of the Association in positions of responsibility are involved, such as Councillors and Executive Officers.
  4. The absence of a clause in our collective agreement insulating employees from disciplinary action on the part of the employer means that members of the academic staff who observe legal picket lines run a risk of disciplinary action by the employer; such disciplinary action usually takes the form of docking of pay. In the event of such discipline, members of the bargaining unit have a right to fair representation from the Association as in any other case.
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