You asked a number of important questions during Monday’s OGM. Here are answers to questions related to the CAUT Defense Fund:
Q. What is required of members of a striking or locked-out union, in order to receive strike or lockout pay?
A. Brian Brown, President, CAUT Defence fund, responded by email on September 17th:
“The member union decides how the strike pay is distributed to the members. The DF [Defence Fund] will make a direct deposit into your [the Association’s] bank account for the number of members the member union declares for the year.
In other words the union would pay $5.25 per member x the number of members declared by the union once a year, normally in Jan. or Feb. That number is used for the next twelve months. So $5.25 x # of members paid to DF per month. Your union has already sent in the number of members for the calculation.
If you are locked out or go on strike the member union would receive a transfer of funds weekly. Members x $84 per day x 7 gives you the weekly amount from the fund.The member union decides how strike pay is distributed.”
Q. The Windsor Star reports that University of Windsor Faculty Association members who picketed on Monday received $84 strike pay. How is this possible when the Defence Fund strike pay starts on the fourth day of a lockout or strike?
A. As stated in his talk on Monday, every member association can rely on Defence Fund support, but also has their own reserve funds which they can choose to allocate to enhance the Defence Fund benefits. For example, Windsor provides strike pay for the first three days of a strike, until the Defence Fund benefits begin on the fourth day. Other Associations opt to top up the strike pay, (from $84 to $100 per day, in a recent example). It’s not unlike when you buy insurance, and there is a deductible. You plan to have the funds on hand to cover the deductible, should you need to claim the insurance.
For legal costs associated with bargaining, the CAUT Defence Fund requires member associations to pay the first $5 000, and provides up to $35 000 cover the remainder. The University of Victoria Faculty Association will replenish its legal reserves and also create a local defence fund to cover these potential costs and to cover expenses that the Defence Fund does not. Brian cited the cost of renting off-campus offices during a lockout as one example of an unavoidable expense that is not covered by the CAUT Defence Fund.
Different unions are free to establish their own rules governing such matters. The UVic FA will create policies around these issues once the two questions of mil-rate increase and joining the CAUT Defence fund are settled. Those policies will depend on the results of those ballots, whichever way we decide to move forward.
Q. How many associations make use of the CAUT Defence Fund, and how much do they draw from it?
A. Brian was kind enough to share this information, and allow us to share it with members, going all the way back to 1986. There are currently 51 member associations, each paying into the Fund on a per member rate. The amounts paid out vary according to the length of time of job action, the number of striking members, and whether each association requests support with legal fees, flying pickets, or member benefits in addition to the strike or lockout pay. See the full report here: 7c)i DF Strike Report 2012-13