CUPE 4163 represents 1500 Teaching Assistants and Instructors at UVic. CUPE 4163 is in a legal strike position. They are at an impasse in bargaining over UVic's refusal to address issues relating to precarious employment.
At this point, there is no information about potential picket lines; however, there is potential for 4163 job action in the coming weeks. Below you will find information on picket lines, picket pay and essential services.
We will continue to update members as information becomes available.
Members with questions are encouraged to reach out to their Local Reps, Chapter Executive or PEA staff.
The FAQ was last updated September 4, 2019
What is a picket line?
A picket line is a form of job action. It is a boundary established by workers on strike, especially at the entrance to the place of work, which others are asked not to cross.
How much notice does CUPE have to give before a picket line is put up?
CUPE must give 72-hour strike notice to establish a picket line.
Can I cross a picket line?
UVic PEA members cannot be compelled to cross a picket line by the employer based on Article 1.04 of the collective agreement and BC's Labour Relations Code. The PEA strongly encourages members to respect and not to cross other unions' picket lines. Crossing a picket lines impacts the potential effectiveness of job action for a union (i.e. could extend the job action) and can lead to long term relationship issues in the workplace between members of the same and other unions.
Can I work from home?
Updated: Members who work from home are, in essence, crossing a picket line virtually. Members will not likely be paid by the employer if they work from home. The PEA encourages members not to work from home if they are facing picket lines. Working from home undermines a picket line in the same way that physically crossing does. It minimizes a union's essential tool of withholding labour and impacts the effectiveness of the striking union. It could lead to a more prolonged strike by reducing the pressure on the employer.
How will I find out if there is a picket line at my building?
- The PEA will email members to their preferred email address as soon as we are informed of the picket line. You can update your preferred email address on our website, or by contacting membership.
- You can sign up for text alerts by texting UVic to 778-402-7862.
- We will update our website as information is made available to us. Find out the latest on the job action at pea.org.
What do I do for the day if there is a picket line at my building?
Go home, or support the picket line (i.e. walk the picket line with striking CUPE members, provide verbal and other forms of support for them, etc.). The PEA will be onsite at UVic to supply members with picket signs to support CUPE 4163 if members choose.
NEW: What if I have scheduled a vacation during job action?
If you have scheduled vacation prior to the announcement of job action, the University has indicated that they will honour your vacation. Any vacation scheduled after the announcement of job action will not be honoured.
What is the PEA Picket Pay Policy?
- PEA picket pay is a salary and benefits reimbursement of up to $125 per day. This applies to members who lose earnings as a result of honouring another union's picket line.
- Members receive up to $125 a day for each day that they are unable to work because of picket lines.
- The PEA will ensure members' health and welfare benefits continue if PEA members face a picket line. The cost of this will be deducted from the total picket pay. UVic is confirming the cost of benefits with the PEA.
- Members cannot make more money from picket pay than they would otherwise make at work.
- If a member makes $200 a day at work, they will receive the full $125 a day, minus the cost of benefits.
Are Part-time and Auxiliary/Term members eligible?
All members, regardless of whether they are full-time regular, part-time regular or auxiliary/term employees, are eligible for picket pay. It is important to note that picket pay will not exceed the amount of pay a member would otherwise have earned. In other words, if the picket pay amount approved by the PEA Executive is greater than the amount of their normal take-home pay, then the member's picket pay would be adjusted to be no more than their typical take-home pay.
Is picket pay taxable?
No. Picket pay is tax-free.
What forms do I need to fill out to get paid?
If you are unable to work because of a picket line, fill out Form A: Strike Pay Reimbursement (below) and fax (250-385-6629) or email to firstname.lastname@example.org that to the PEA office.
Form A | Strike Pay Reimbursement
How long will it take to get paid after I submit Form A?
The PEA will process picket pay forms in the order they are received. The PEA will make every effort so that Members will receive a cheque within three weeks.
Who is eligible for picket pay?
To qualify for picket pay, a member must be in good standing. This means that the member has signed a PEA membership application form and is paying union dues to the PEA. If members are not sure that they have signed a membership application form, they should contact the PEA office. New employees who have not completed a membership application should contact the PEA office immediately.
Can I appeal my picket pay?
Members have the right to appeal to the PEA Executive regarding their picket pay eligibility.
If there are still questions unanswered about picket pay eligibility, feel free to go to the PEA website and look up the PEA Job Action Manual below or contact the PEA Office.
Which days am I eligible to receive picket pay for?
You will receive picket pay for each day you are scheduled to work. IE if you are scheduled to work on a Saturday, and a picket line is in place, you will receive picket pay.
How will I be paid?
We will pay our members via cheque.
What are essential services?
- The BC Labour Relations Code requires employers and unions to maintain certain essential services to the public when job action is undertaken in a labour dispute. Essential services are those related to the health, safety or the welfare of British Columbia residents.
- At UVic, essential services are negotiated between the PEA and the employer.
Have I been designated an essential service?
Members who are designated an essential service will be contacted by the PEA directly. We anticipate finalizing the essential service list in early September. If you are unsure about your essential service designation, please contact Brett Harper.
Will I be paid if I am deemed an essential service?
UVic will pay any member deemed an essential service, who works during a strike.
What are picket passes?
- Those individuals designated an essential service will be issued a picket pass. This allows you to pass the picket line and prevents any confusion with strikers.
- In addition to your picket pass, you will be directed to enter and exit your building (or campus) through specific access points. The PEA and/or UVic will inform essential service staff of access points in advance.