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ALL ABOUT GOING ON STRIKE

1. What rights do we have if there is a strike?

Our right to strike is protected by law.

Ontario's Labour Relations Act guarantees that no reprisals can be taken against a worker for engaging in a lawful strike. Strikers remain employees and the Act provides that, up to six months after the start of a legal strike, the employer must reinstate to their former job an employee who applies in writing, if the work is still being done.

2. If we go on strike, what will happen to:

a) My pension?

A striker's pension rights are the same as they were before a strike. (Again the law regards a striker as an employee). Your pension contributions must remain in the pension plan and cannot be touched by the company. Obviously, a strike creates a gap in contributions. That becomes a matter for negotiation in a settlement.

b) My OHIP Medicare coverage?

Coverage continues. OHIP is funded by government revenues.

c) My Extended Health Benefit, Vision Care Plan, Dental Plan and Life Insurance Coverage?

Your fully-fledged health benefits do not continue during the strike. However the union will cover life-sustaining drug prescriptions, bills for emergency dental work and any other medical emergencies (as approved by the union's strikers' welfare committee.

3. How will I know when a strike starts?

If you are at work, your picket captain, steward or bargaining committee representative will come in to the office and lead you out. If at home, you will receive a telephone call from your picket captain or telephone contact. And listen to the news on the radio.

4. What will I do when it starts?

Do what your picket captain/telephone contact asks you to do. For most people, this will mean reporting to Strike Headquarters (1253 Queen Street East) or some other location for picket duty.

5. What if I'm on holiday or leave of absence when a strike begins?

Your fellow union members will need your help. If you can, report to Strike Headquarters for picketing or other strike duty. If you picket or do other equivalent work as assigned, you'll receive strike benefits like everyone else unless you are receiving your vacation pay.

If you're out of town, report to Strike Headquarters when you get home. You'll be assigned strike duty and enrolled for benefits immediately.

6. What if I'm on sick leave when a strike starts?

Stay home and get well. Then report to Strike Headquarters when you get home. You'll be assigned strike duty and enrolled for benefits immediately.

7. Will I receive strike benefits automatically?

No. To receive benefits, you must enroll and do your share of picketing or other strike duty.

8. Do I have to walk a picket line?

Yes. Every union member at the Star except those who are physically disabled must do SOME picketing each week. Picketing may be at the employer's premises or leafleting at locations of advertisers who refuse to temporarily suspend advertising in The Star. Those who have no other strike duties will be required to picket a certain number of hours as assigned to receive full benefits. People working on the various committees -- finance, headquarters and so on -- obviously won't have time to picket as many hours as others. But they'll be taking their turns on the lines too.

9. What are the strike benefits?

The weekly strike and lockout benefit, paid out of Local and CEP Defense Funds, is 60% of gross salary, capped at a maximum of $350.

Strike benefits may be reduced for persons who do not picket 20 or more hours per week.

10. Are my strike benefits taxable?

No. And there are no EI or CPP deductions either.

11. What about people who don't want to picket or receive strike benefits?

The Union asks them to reconsider. Your fellow union members will need your help, and you may be entitled to full or part benefits if you do your share of picketing or other work.

12. What about people who plan to quit their jobs and go elsewhere if a strike occurs?

Again, the Union asks them to reconsider. It could be a serious mistake to abandon your job and your seniority to avoid what might be a brief strike. And your friends will need your support on the picket line and on the strike committees.

13. What help is available if I get into financial difficulty?

If you run into problems with rent, mortgage payments, time-payment contracts or anything else, contact the Strikers' Welfare Committee at the Union office -- 416-461-2461 or 1-800-463-5797.

14. Can I collect unemployment insurance benefits while I'm on strike?

No, except for pregnancy/parental benefits if the leave has been planned for in advance.

15. What about municipal welfare payments?

Probably not. Strikers have occasionally received municipal welfare, but only in extreme cases.

16. What attitude do we take to outsiders and non-union members who cross our picket lines?

Anyone who crosses our lines to work for the company, or do business with it, hurts us. We will attempt to convince these people of the rightness of our cause. And we can promise our fellow workers that we'll refuse to settle a strike and return to our jobs unless all of them are reinstated in theirs.

Of course we never insult or intimidate picket line crossers. That's contrary to the aims and character of the Union and it's no way to retain public sympathy for our strike.

17. Where will "Strike Headquarters" be?

1253 Queen Street East