FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What happens now that the conciliator has been unsuccessful in helping the parties reach an agreement?
After the conciliator filed his report, it was up to the Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour to determine whether this is an appropriate situation in which to appoint a conciliation board.  We have now been advised that the Minister will not be appointing a conciliation board

What happens now that the Minister has decided not to appoint a conciliation board?
The parties may resume negotiations, seek the assistance of a third party such a mediation officer, or prepare to take labour action, i.e. a strike or lock-out after the cooling off period designated by the Industrial Relations Act has elapsed (see below). 

What is a strike?
A strike is labour action initiated by a union.  During a strike, bargaining unit employees withdraw in whole, or in part, their services from the employer, with the intent to restrict or limit the employer’s operations and to compel the employer to agree to terms and conditions of employment.

What is a lock-out?
A lock-out is labour action initiation by an employer.  During a lock-out, an employer closes a place of employment or suspends work of the bargaining unit with a view to compelling employees to agree to certain terms or conditions of employment. 

Does the University intend to lock-out the members of the UGSW?
No.

Must there be a strike vote before a strike can take place?
Yes, a strike vote must be taken before a strike can occur. All employees in the bargaining unit may vote and a majority of the entire bargaining unit (not just a majority of those who attend the vote) must vote in favour of a strike for a legal strike to take place. 

When can a strike vote take place?
The earliest that the union can legally hold a strike vote is February 28, 2016. However, it is the University’s understanding that the union membership will be given the opportunity to vote on the University’s most recent offer on February 29 (UNBSJ) and March 1 (UNBF).

Must there be a lock-out vote before a lock-out can take place?
No, in the case of a single employer, such as UNB, there is no requirement for a lock-out vote. 

When a majority votes in favour of a strike, must there be a strike?
No, just because a majority votes in favour of a strike, the bargaining agent is not obligated to declare a strike.  However, after obtaining a positive strike vote, the bargaining agent is not obliged to further consult with the membership before a strike takes place.

Must advance notice be given before strike or lock-out activity?
Written notice, at least 24 hours in advance, must be given before a lawful strike or lock-out can take place.

What does it mean for me as a student if UGSW goes on strike?  Can I cross a picket line?
As a UNB student, you have a legal right to cross any picket lines to enter campus, the same as other non-striking employees and members of the public. 

If the UGSW goes on strike can I choose not to cross a picket line to attend classes or conduct my research?  Will I be given special exemption?
No, there will be no special exemptions.  Classes will continue.  Students may choose to not cross the picket line; however, students are responsible for materials covered in any class or lab they may miss, and are responsible for any negative consequences on their marks if the professor has a course attendance/participation requirement.