Contingency (strike) fund

Volume 27, Issue 5
May 2017

Janet Porter, Chief Steward, OPSEU Local 562  


At the General Membership Meeting (GMM) on May 17, a motion will be put forward related to the contingency fund. Historical background about the fund follows.

At the GMM in February 2004, faculty union members voted to transfer a pre-existing local reserve fund into a Local 562 strike fund.

It appears that the special levy rate of 0.25 per cent pre-dates February 2004.

  • May 2004 – amount transferred from the reserve fund to the 2004 strike fund was transferred into a contingency fund.
  • November 2004 – LEC voted to present to the next GMM a motion establishing a maximum contingency fund of $750,000. The general membership agreed that special levy would temporarily increase until the contingency fund reached $500,000.
  • February 2006 – at the LEC, the LEC voted that, in the event of a strike, the local will supplement member strike pay at the same rate as the OPSEU strike pay policy, that total payments will not exceed the amount in the contingency fund, and that this decision will be reviewed by the LEC, as appropriate.
  • March 2006 – college faculty were on strike for approximately 3 weeks.
  • May 2006 – contingency fund was depleted after strike expenses, including $242,000 for matching strike pay, balance remaining approximately $40,000.
  • October 2007 – discussion at GMM – fund forecasted to reach $500,000 in 2009.
  • May 2008 – general membership agreed to remove the cap, continuing to collect the special levy until cancelled or modified at a future general membership meeting.
  • December 2009 – fund estimated at around $650,000.
  • May 2010, June 2011, May 2012, May 2013 – contingency fund discussed at four general membership meetings – no motions carried, therefore no change in collecting special levy.
  • May 2015 – at the GMM when the fund was approximately $1.7M, the membership voted down a motion to terminate the special 0.25 per cent dues levy.

As of August 2016, year-end when the Financial Statement was prepared, the strike contingency fund was $2,021,280. It grows each month with the special levy of 0.25 per cent and when our investments come due, the interest earned is added to the contingency fund.


Rationale for a Local Contingency Fund

  • In 2008, the province amended the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act to allow the college to ask faculty (and support staff) to cross picket lines. We therefore need a large strike fund to offset the dilemma for faculty who want to strike but do not want to lose wages.
  • The strike fund should be “healthy”.
  • Strike pay is not taxable.
  • Use of the strike fund is restricted to supplementing the strike pay of members who participate in active strike duty and who do not cross picket lines.