At our national convention delegates voted to increase strike pay to $300 a week – the first raise since 1997 – and deepened our policy against concessions at the bargaining table. With a strike fund of $70 million, CUPE has the financial resources members need to back their demands, up to and including a strike. In 2013, CUPE funded 26 strike-averting campaigns for a total of $1.86 million. In all, 32 locals took strike votes and eight CUPE locals were on strike or locked out, walking the picket line for fairness and justice.
The workers who maintain grounds and courses at the Quilchena Golf and Country Club in Richmond, BC, were locked out on February 4. After being out for 99 days, the 19 CUPE 4964 members reached a deal with improved contract language on bargaining unit work.
CUPE 389 members at the North Shore Winter Club in North Vancouver, BC, were locked out on May 3. The 16 members rejected management’s final offer of no wage increase and cuts to sick time, vacation time, and work hours. The lockout ended after more than seven months, with a no-concessions deal that includes a five-per-cent pay raise. Members ratified the agreement on Christmas Eve.
On April 4, the seven members of CUPE 5051 working at Club Optimiste de Laflèche were locked out despite having an agreement in principle for a first collective agreement. The club provides services to the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec. Members then went on strike on April 15 to back their demands, and returned to work April 22 with a first collective agreement that settled their issues around work scheduling and hours.
In September, members of CUPE 1393 went on strike for more than a month to defend quality education and pay equity. The 270 skilled trades, technical and professional staff at the University of Windsor successfully pushed back employer demands to gut their joint job evaluation system and force unilateral changes to their seniority rights. CUPE 1393’s relentlessly positive campaign focused on building bridges between students, faculty and the broader community.
The six members of CUPE 4893, municipal workers in Kensington, PEI, were locked out for a week starting December 4. The local’s contract expired in April 2013, and the two sides weren’t able to reach a deal in conciliation. The settlement resolves all the local’s outstanding issues, including wages.
On December 16, municipal workers in Prince George, BC, staged a one-day walkout for decent wages and respect. The more than 500 CUPE 399 and CUPE 1048 members had been without a collective agreement for nearly a year. The two locals are also fighting to protect public services from privatization and cuts. The local reached a tentative deal in early January.
As of publication, two locals are on the picket lines. Municipal workers in Bonfield, Ontario have been on strike since August 1. The 16 members of CUPE 4616-2 said ‘no’ when the employer threatened to impose a contract that allowed contracting out of public services and many other concessions.
A tiny but mighty CUPE unit at Ryerson University has been locked out since September 30.
CUPE 1281’s two members working for the Continuing Education Students Association of Ryerson were locked out when CESAR walked away from bargaining, pulling its entire offer. At the time, less than $2,000 separated the two parties.