FAQ: Best Theratronics bargaining

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Bargaining updates:

What is the status of negotiations?

Negotiations have been ongoing since May 2023.

In September the union tabled monetary demands and the employer has refused to respond on wages and monetary items, offering the explanation that they do not have a monetary mandate from the company owners.

Subsequent efforts to bargain have been met with delays, repeated last minute cancellations and an overall lack of respect for our members from the company they work for.

PSAC is organizing a strike vote for May 6. Members will be contacted with details on how to vote shortly.

Your bargaining team is committed to reaching a fair deal for PSAC UNE 70369 members.

What are the outstanding issues at the table?

Fair wage increases to catch up to direct comparators and inflation, as well as benefits, sick leave, flexible work arrangements and workplace safety.

Is my existing collective agreement still in effect during the bargaining process?

The terms of any collective agreement continue to apply after they expire and until a new collective agreement is signed. However, a collective agreement is no longer in effect in the event of a declared strike for the PSAC local, or lockout.

Strike vote sessions

What does a strike vote mean?

Securing a strong strike mandate gives your bargaining team the leverage needed to reach a fair and decent contract. It authorizes PSAC to call strike action, if needed, and shows the company members are willing to fight.  

Going on strike is never our first choice, and a strike vote doesn’t mean PSAC will automatically call a strike. A ‘yes’ vote means PSAC is authorized to call strike action as a possible escalation, when all other efforts fail to secure a deal.  

How do I vote?

You must attend a strike vote information session to be eligible to vote. Information sessions and the strike vote will be held in person only. We will announce the information and strike vote sessions in advance.

I am currently on leave, am I eligible to vote?

All employees in the bargaining unit are eligible to participate in the strike vote, even if they are currently on leave, with or without pay. This includes parental leave, long-term disability leave, and sick leave. 

What constitutes a successful strike vote?

A successful strike vote means that a simple majority (50% + 1) of members in your bargaining unit who cast a ballot and voted in favour of strike action.  

Possible strike action

If we vote in favour of a strike, when could PSAC potentially call a strike?

Conciliation period ended on April 15th, triggering the 21-day cool-off period, after which the union and employer are in legal strike/lockout positions if a valid vote has been taken. The cooling-off period ends May 7. However, during this period, the parties could still attempt to reach a settlement. 

Under the legislation, the positive strike vote is valid for 60 days, meaning a strike could be called any time after the cooling-off period, within the 60-day window.  Any strike/lockout is subject to a 72-hour notice before any job action.

The Regional Strategy Coordinating Committee (RSCC) coordinates all PSAC resources and activities in support of bargaining teams and in the event of a strike. A member of your bargaining team sits on this committee. The RSCC will weigh our strategic options and factor in whether negotiations are progressing before making a recommendation to the national president, who under the PSAC Constitution has the authority to call a strike. 

How can we prepare for a strike?

PSAC is committed to ensuring members are informed about and prepared for a possible strike. Strike training will be available, please contact your local executive to sign up for strike training.

Do I have the right to keep working in the event of a strike?

In the past, we’ve been made aware that employers have encouraged PSAC members to continue working. This is a classic and often seen union-busting tactic that aims to undermine our efforts to secure a fair agreement for all workers — including wages that keep up with the rising cost of living and don’t force you to take a pay cut.

Any member who works during the strike, including working remotely, betrays the entire bargaining unit. Crossing a picket line, whether in person or remotely, weakens our bargaining position and can cause the strike to last longer or result in a deal that’s less than workers deserve. It could also have long-term impacts on the working relationships between the coworkers who held the line and made sacrifices to get a good deal for everyone, and those who sided with the employer.

Members who cross the picket line by performing work for the employer could face fines and suspension of membership privileges. PSAC’s Constitution outlines disciplinary action that can be taken against members, including “a fine that equals the amount of daily renumeration earned by the member, multiplied by the number of days that the member crossed the picket line, performed work for the employer, or voluntarily performed struck work.”

If you notice a member who is not respecting the strike action, speak to them and make sure they are aware of the situation and expectations, and talk to them about what’s at stake. If your manager is encouraging you to cross the picket line, notify your union steward, local executive, or PSAC regional office immediately. When we work together, we apply maximum pressure on the employer, which can lead to a faster, more rewarding conclusion to the strike.

Pay during a strike

What will happen to my pay

Your employer is obligated to pay you for your last pay period worked before the strike. After that, the employer may suspend pay until the conclusion of the strike.

Will I receive strike pay?

Strike pay is governed by Regulation 6 in PSAC’s Constitution. Members are expected to provide a minimum of four hours of picket duty per day in support of the strike to qualify for strike pay. Members who usually work 20 hours or more each week will receive the following strike pay: $75 per day, for a maximum per calendar week of $375. 

When will I receive my strike pay?

In the event of a strike, PSAC will process strike pay weekly and distribute cheques to members on the picket line.

Is strike pay taxable?

Strike pay is not considered taxable income by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Are RAND members eligible for strike pay?

No. Union membership must be in good standing to receive strike pay. However, union cards will be available at all picket lines and rand members will immediately become eligible for strike pay once a card is signed.   
Rand members have not officially joined the union or registered with PSAC, but still pay automatic union dues in accordance with the Rand Formula, a labour relations decision handed down by Justice Ivan Rand of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1946.  

What if I can’t afford to go on strike?

Your union has a lot of support systems in place to make sure you never go without pay while you’re on strike.

During a general strike, every member participating in the strike and joining picket lines will receive strike pay of $75 per day. This strike pay is tax-free. 

Leading up to a potential strike, we encourage members to create a financial plan. This could involve contacting your financial institution to discuss consolidating or renegotiating loans and to request interest relief for loans and mortgages during the period of the strike. This plan could also include building up emergency savings, buying food in bulk ahead of time and exploring other sources of income on a short-term basis. Check if your insurance on your credit card offers minimum payments in situations of strikes or lock outs.

PSAC also has a Strike Hardship Fund for members who are severely financially impacted by a strike or lockout lasting over two weeks. The fund offers financial assistance when other options have been exhausted. The Strike Hardship Fund is managed by PSAC nationally, with regions receiving and reviewing applications to make recommendations. Members may also be asked for additional supporting financial documents as part of their hardship claim.

The PSAC strike preparation training includes measures members can take to possibly mitigate the financial impact of a strike, as well as more information about the PSAC Hardship Fund.

How will a strike affect my pension?

The impact on the future pension for a member who participates in a strike is to push back — by the number of days on strike — the date on which the member completes the required years of service to qualify for a pension. 

While the time participating in a strike cannot be bought back, it is not considered as a break in pensionable service for the purposes of calculating a member’s best five consecutive years of highest paid service.

What happens to my benefits?

If the company declines to maintain employee benefits during a strike, PSAC will arrange for a benefit plan to cover members throughout the strike.

What happens to my seniority if we go on strike?

There is no impact on your seniority standing. 


Can my already approved leave be cancelled once strike action is called?

The company may choose to cancel your leave, even if it has already been approved because no collective agreement is in force during a strike. 

What about sick leave and other leave with or without pay?

Workers in the striking bargaining unit who are on sick leave or other leave with or without pay before the start of the strike should be permitted to continue leave, subject to providing evidence that they continue to meet the conditions for the granting of the leave.

If my bargaining unit is on strike and I am presently on maternity and/or parental leave, am I entitled to this leave? What will happen to my top-up?

Your entitlement to maternity or parental leave is established by legislation and therefore continues during the period of a strike. 

Your entitlement to the salary top-up is established under the collective agreement and no collective agreement is active during a strike. The company could, therefore, choose not to pay the top-up. 

Acting positions, terms

What if I’m on an acting assignment in a management position?

If you are on an acting assignment outside of the bargaining unit, you are not eligible to participate in the strike vote or take strike action.

Should I remain in my acting position or go back to my substantive position during the strike?

Only the employer can terminate an acting position. You will continue in your acting position during the strike, unless otherwise instructed by the employer. If you decide to revert to your substantive position, you may be faced with disciplinary action, especially if the acting position belongs to another bargaining agent.

What if I am a term employee during a strike?

A strike does not constitute a break in service and will not impact your contract. If you are a term with more than three months service, you are a union member and are covered by the collective agreement. Therefore, you are expected to honour the picket line.

Next steps

Can we take part in mobilization events before we’re in a strike position?

We’re already organizing activities to show the company that we’re serious about getting a fair deal. Activities may start small but grow to bigger, high-visibility actions.

Some examples of workplace actions may include:   

  • Encouraging members to wear ‘Strike Alert’ stickers or display other mobilization materials in the workplace;  
  • Heavily advertising strike training in and around the office;  
  • Holding workplace membership meetings to inform and organize;  
  • Organizing large lunchtime rallies just outside the workplace or online.  

Consult your union bulletin board and be sure to check your personal email address to stay up to date on events and activities. 

How can I get involved and support our bargaining teams?

Be visible, wear swag, speak about the negotiation in the workplace, support your team, attend events and stay aware of developments.

Getting involved and taking action are key as we push for a fair contract. Be prepared, get mobilized, stay engaged, and be ready to take action:   

  • Read our bargaining updates and familiarize yourself with the key issues   
  • Join the mobilization committee 
  • Attend mobilization events  
  • Get in touch with your union local to get involved  
  • Keep your contact information up to date  

How do I update my contact information with PSAC?

To ensure you receive the latest strike information, it is essential we have your personal, non-work email address and personal cellphone number on file.

Contact your regional office directly.

Contact your local executive:

Jeff Gulis, Local President, president70369@gmail.com