Strike and Defence Fund Policy

Policy number:




Strike and Defence

Fund Operations

Effective Date:

Replacing file:

September 1, 2013



  1. The primary purpose of the Strike and Defence Fund (the Fund) is to support members who participate in authorized strikes or lockouts.
  2. A regulated portion of the Fund may be used for campaigns and defence of the membership with the approval of the National Executive Board.
  3. Fundamental to the concept of the Fund is the principle that success in a strike or lockout situation cannot be purchased. The unity and sacrifice necessary to win a conflict is never dependent on finances alone. The Fund and this policy reinforce our member's solidarity, but can never replace it.


  1. The following set of principles governs the operation of the Fund.
  2. A percentage of the National dues received as determined by the Constitution Article 16 (15), will be transferred to the Fund by a monthly transfer into a separate account.
  3. The Fund shall be used to assist Locals in the event of a strike or lockout.
  4. Strike benefits shall be paid according to Article 17 Section C of the Constitution which as of August 21, 2019 are:
  • Strike assistance pay of $300.00 shall be provided for each week of an authorized strike or lockout, prorated by day, including the first week. Strike assistance pay will cease on the members individual return to work, not to exceed 28 days following the ratification date.
  • Medical and health benefit costs for members in a strike or lockout may be provided by the Fund according to criteria established by the National Executive Board.
  1. All strike votes and ratification votes are governed by Article 17 of the Constitution and eligibility for benefits from the Fund may be denied if an appropriate strike or ratification vote was not properly conducted.
  2. Local Unions which are in arrears in their National dues, Regional or Quebec Council dues or other assessments, or which have failed to reconcile accounts from previous payments from the Fund, may be denied access to benefits.
  3. Where Local Unions have no right to strike or face compulsory arbitration they may apply to the National Executive Board for assistance from the Fund to meet the cost of extraordinary expenditures.
  4. An amount not exceeding the National dues income of the Fund in the previous year may be used upon approval of the National Executive Board for special campaigns to defend the Union and its membership, e.g. special or mobilization campaigns to protect and promote employment and good jobs, legislative campaigns, defending against raids, boycotts, expenses arising out of court or arbitration cases related to strikes or lockouts or other matters, that have broad national implications including the defense of social and democratic unionism. All expenditures will be made on the basis of National Union priorities and strategic legal considerations.
  5. Special campaigns can include assistance to workers in other unions involved in disputes of national importance.
  6. Administrative costs shall be paid out of the Fund.
  7. All other disbursements must be supported by a National Executive Board resolution or an Executive Board poll.
  8. All requests for assistance will be submitted to the National Executive Board for acceptance in advance of arbitrations, legal cases or campaigns commencing.
  9. Any dispute on eligibility for benefits from the Fund shall be decided by the National Executive Board, whose decision shall be final.
  10. Should the Defence Fund be depleted, the National Executive Board shall have the authority to borrow money as necessary to meet its obligations.


  1. Overall responsibility for all operations of the Fund resides with the National Executive Board. For administrative efficiency and in accordance with the Constitution, the following specific duties shall be carried out.
  2. The President of the National Union, or designate, shall:
  • Authorize strike action by a Local, Locals or bargaining units;
  • Approve Fund payments to a Local or Locals;
  • Rule on requests from Locals regarding Strike Support Plans;
  • Designate and assign responsibility for the proper conduct of a strike or lockout to the appropriate Assistant, Quebec Director, Regional Director or Representative(s);
  • Provide information and notification as appropriate to the Quebec Director, Regional Directors and Assistants;
  • Ensure that the National Executive Board is kept informed of important developments.

20. The Secretary Treasurer of the National Union, or designate, shall:

  • Be responsible for maintenance of the Fund in accordance with the Constitution;
  • Advise the President of the National Union of the current status of a Local or Locals involved in a dispute, including the number of members in good standing in the bargaining unit(s) involved according to National Union records;
  • Arrange for Fund payments, in accordance with proper procedures, to a Local or Locals involved in a dispute;
  • Invest monies of the Fund to achieve the best possible return for the good of the membership;
  • Provide written reports on the status of the Fund, including balance, payments made to Locals and members, investments and investment plans, at regular meetings of the National Executive Board, and provide an audited financial statement at least once a year and at other times as required or directed by the National Executive Board;
  • Furnish any forms or directives in connection with the administration of the Fund, which may be required from time to time;
  • Ensure that a Local or Locals involved in a dispute are properly trained and prepared on the Defence Fund Rules and on Strike Authorization Procedures.
  • Shall have the authority to make final decision on behalf of the National Union on issues that may fall outside of this policy

21. The Quebec Director, Regional Directors or Assistants shall:

  • Keep the President of the National Union apprised of all bargaining developments and particularly those situations where a dispute appears imminent;
  • Make recommendations to the President of the National Union in connection with strike authorization, payment of Fund benefits, and termination of same;
  • Review and approve the Strike Plan in accordance with this policy;
  • Be responsible to release strike authorization to a Local or Locals at the appropriate time.


  1. Strike authorization and all payments from the Fund are authorized by the President under Article 17 of the Constitution.
  2. The President shall grant strike authorization if a strike vote was held in accordance with the Constitution and if the membership have clearly authorized a strike as provided for in this Policy. The President has the responsibility to withhold authorization if a strike would result in serious harm to the membership or the National Union.
  3. A strong strike mandate is an important element in successful bargaining. It sends a clear message to the employer and it strengthens and demonstrates the solidarity of our members. Leadership and staff should strive to achieve at least 66 2/3% and as high a vote as possible. If this is not achieved, the President shall determine whether a strike is warranted by strategic considerations.
  4. As a matter of bargaining strategy, a strike vote is often taken early in the bargaining process. When this occurs, strike authorization requests should be delayed until a strike is considered possible.
  5. If a new and substantive offer has been made subsequent to a strike vote, the President shall determine that the new offer has been considered by the membership, or appropriately considered and rejected by the Bargaining Committee.
  6. A request for strike authorization shall be sent to the President by the National Representative assigned to the bargaining, and a copy of the request for authorization shall be sent to the Regional Director or the Quebec Director and to the Strike and Defence Department.
  1. Typically, strike authorization may require 72 hours’ notice and consideration by the office of the President.
  2. A request for strike authorization shall be completed on a form provided by the office of the President and include the following information:
  • Description of the company, workplace and members affected by the dispute;
  • Status of negotiations, mediation or conciliation, including outstanding issues;
  • Details of the strike vote, including date, location, voter turnout and voting results;
  • Other unions or workers that would be affected by a strike;
  • Strategic matters that would affect the conduct of a strike, including pattern or industry bargaining considerations, corporate relationships, supply chains and government policy or interventions.
  1. The Quebec Director or the Regional Director shall provide additional information and advice to the President if required.
  2. Strike authorization shall be signed by the President and sent to the Quebec Director, Regional Director or designated Representative and to the Strike and Defence Fund Department. No work stoppage shall take place until the authorization has been released to the Local Union or Bargaining Unit by the President’s Office, Quebec Director, Regional Director or Representative.
  3. If the circumstances which gave rise to a strike authorization have substantially changed, the President may withdraw strike authorization, subject to the approval of the National Executive Board.
  4. Strike authorization ends with the ratification of an agreement that ends a strike or lockout.


  1. If a labour dispute commences, Local Unions or bargaining units shall establish a Local Strike Committee to assist in the implementation of this policy.
  2. Rules of eligibility for strike assistance concerning hours of picketing or other
    strike-related duties shall be determined by the Local Strike Committee.
  3. Under no circumstances will a member be eligible for strike assistance unless that member performs the strike-related duty assigned or is duly exempted from performing that duty by the Local Strike Committee.

a. Subject to written request and approval of the National Executive Board, a Local Strike Committee may distribute weekly strike pay on an “accumulated hours of picket duty” basis. This shall apply only in exceptional circumstances. Each request shall be reviewed and decided by the National Executive Board on a case-by-case basis.

  1. A surviving spouse of a member who passes away during a dispute may continue to receive assistance from the Fund on an equitable basis. The member or the surviving spouse of a member who passes away during the dispute receiving the payment must sign a form acknowledging the amount and that such payment has been received (the President of the National Union may approve alternate arrangements in special or unusual circumstances).
  2. Any member receiving Workers Compensation, Employment Insurance, vacation pay or any similar form of income will not be eligible to receive strike assistance from the Fund. However, it is understood that members may still receive strike assistance even if they receive other employment income given that they meet all other requirements of this policy.


  1. The Local must send a complete list of their members in good standing in an electronic format stating the status of each member and their eligibility.
  2. 40. For clarification, only those members (or the surviving spouse of a member who passes away during the dispute), who are working in the bargaining unit where the strike or lockout occurs and on whose behalf national dues to the National Union has been paid (or have been exempted from paying per capita in accordance with the Constitution) will be counted. Excluded will be individuals the Local has reported as "gone", "left", etc., but are still considered members in good standing because they are not more than three (3) months in arrears in per capita.
  3. Newly hired members: The Defence Fund payments on behalf of these members will not be made until the Local provides adequate documentation concerning the good standing of those members.
  4. Newly organized units shall receive strike assistance based upon the membership application cards received by the National Union, or an authenticated list signed by the Local Union Secretary Treasurer, no later than the Friday of the week in which the dispute commences.
  5. In the case of Amalgamated Locals which do not break down their National Dues reports by separate bargaining units, such a Local shall send to the Secretary Treasurer of the National Union a list of the names of the members in the affected bargaining units as of the commencement of the strike or lockout before they can receive any payment or strike pay from the Fund.
  6. Members returning from leaves during the dispute may be added to the list, starting on their return date, if Locals provide adequate information.
  7. All strike assistance to members shall be paid in person only, by cheque. The Fund will provide the weekly strike cheques and members listing to the local’s designate who will be responsible for the distribution to the members who have completed their full duty as defined by the strike committee.
  8. Cheques covering the total entitlement for the Local Union will be issued on Day 8 of the conflict and include $300 per member for the first week of the dispute, or $42.86 per day. Payments shall be made each seven (7) days thereafter.
  9. In accordance with the Fund principles, payments shall cease on the members individual return to work date. Such payments should not exceed 28 days following the conclusion of the dispute.



48. In addition to benefits to members as provided by the Constitution and subject to the approval by the President of the National Union, additional support may be provided to support a strike plan covering costs for receipted costs directly associated with administrating the strike/lockout, including picket line facilities and special needs.

49. A strike support plan, set out on a form provided by the office of the President, once approved, shall be funded taking into account factors such as the number of members involved in the dispute, the number of sites to be picketed, gates or picket lines, the location of the dispute etc.


50. Within 90 days of the ratification date of the agreement that put an end to the strike or lockout, the Local Union insures that all outstanding cheques distributed to members, they must also provide copies of all strike receipts and return all undistributed cheques to the National Union. Failure to comply may result in revocation or suspension of Charter in accordance with our Constitution.


  1. Appeals for financial assistance to each Local Union and outside organizations may be made after the fifth week of a dispute by the President of the National Union after consultation with the Quebec Director or Regional Director(s) involved.
  2. Monies received from donations and appeals must be distributed to the members by the Local.

Revision history

Approval date:

November 7, 2019


September 9, 2020 – to include resolution from Local 597


  • Resolution to NEB September 9, 2020 – Amendment from Unifor Local 597: Distribution of Strike Pay Based on Accumulated Hours of Assigned Picket Duty.
  • Local 597 Option form for Students