Bargaining Update #30

Hello members,
In advance of our Town Hall meetings starting next week, we are sharing some of the more commonly asked questions along with the corresponding answers.
Additionally, we have undertaken a benefits comparison for Appendix A: 


What is a strike, lockout and what is the difference?
A strike is a form of industrial action taken by a group of workers who stop working in order to pressure their employer to meet their demands. This can be in response to issues such as low wages, unsafe working conditions, or a dispute over collective bargaining agreements. Strikes can be effective in bringing about change, but they also come with risks and costs, such as lost wages.
A lockout is a form of industrial action taken by an employer in response to a strike or a threat of a strike. In a lockout, the employer prevents workers from entering the workplace, effectively stopping them from working and receiving pay. Like a strike, a lockout can be a costly and disruptive action.
The key difference between a strike and a lockout is that a strike is initiated by the workers, while a lockout is initiated by the employer.
How does picket pay work?
Picket pay, for the time being, is set at $400 per week, tax-free. To qualify for Picket Pay, a member has to picket for 16 hours per week. This works out to $25 per hour, and is tax-free. Picket Pay comes from two sources: the USW’s $850M Strike and Defence Fund, and the Local 1944 Benevolent Society which has about $18M.
In the event of a strike or lockout, the USW Strike and Defence Fund pays the Local a sum of $260 per member, per week. The Benevolent Society then tops up the amount paid out by $140, to a total of $400. 
As an example, Local 1944 has about 7,000 members. At a rate of $260/member, the payout from the Strike and Defence Fund would be $1.82M per week. Here are some examples of how the cost of the Picket Pay could be distributed:

A member can both picket, to collect Picket Pay, and work at another job. The USW Strike and Defence Fund is virtually inexhaustible, however the Benevolent Society, while substantial, has more limited resources.
Should the Benevolent Society’s funds become exhausted, members will still draw from the USW’s Strike and Defence Fund. In that event, they will receive a minimum of $260 per week.
What are other financial options if I'm locked out or go on strike?
Striking or being locked out can have financial consequences for both the company and for us as individual members. That is why we want to avoid these actions if at all possible. Consider some of these options to help during a work stoppage:
●      Consider applying for Employment Insurance (EI) if you are eligible, such as for maternity or paternity leave.
●      Look into finding temporary or part-time work to help supplement your income.
●      Check if you can defer your property tax payments.
●      Talk to your financial institution about the possibility of deferring mortgage and loan payments. They may have options or insurance to help you avoid missing payments.
●      Consider cashing in Telus shares if you have any that you can sell.
●      Cash out any banked overtime hours prior to a lockout or strike.
Do I have to picket?
No, but you will not receive picket pay if you don't.
Can I get a different job while locked out?
Yes. You can supplement your picket pay with another job. You will be required to picket for 16 hrs to receive picket pay. 
Will I continue to receive benefits?
The Union continues to press the Company for an arrangement that would see no interruption to your benefit coverage; the Company has yet to agree.

Can we lose our jobs?
No, a legal strike or lockout is protected by the Federal Labour Code. However, it will not cover you for unlawful activities such as vandalism and assault.
What happens to people on STD/LTD Paternity or EI?
Any benefits that you are receiving going into a strike will continue until the benefit is used up.
What happens to booked vacation, PD, VB, VT?
Vacation entitlement would be returned, assuming we are out no longer than four weeks per Article A4.04, B4.04 and C4.03.
Will I get my bonus in February?
While on strike or lockout you will not receive any pay from Telus. But it would be owed as it's an earned benefit from the previous year per MOA Appendix A, B and C, Performance Bonus Program.

Can I get access to Telus systems during a strike or lockout?
No, ALL company assets including phones, laptops, keys, ID’s and vans etc. will be returned to the company.
Where and how do we vote?
Voting will take place via Zoom. You should have received an email from the Union on January 6 with several options for you to choose from. You are required to pre-register and you can attend only one meeting. Voting takes place at the end of the meeting. There will be an opportunity to ask questions. If you did not receive an email on January 6, make sure to look in your junk mail folder, or you can email
How can a member vote if they can’t attend any of these sessions? 
The only way to vote is to attend the town hall. Your Union is committed to making this vote as accessible as possible. You can zoom in from anywhere using your unique registration code. There will be several options to attend. This vote is important so please make every effort to attend.
If a member is on LTD when the agreement is signed, do they miss out on any lump sum?
Any member on leave would not receive any lump sum. However, if they return within 12 months of the signing of the contract and work 60 days of continuous employment they will become eligible. 
With it being easier to work remotely, won't it be vastly more difficult to make a difference in the TELUS bottom line in case of a work stoppage?
We will be able to identify members crossing the picket line. When we all stand together in solidarity, it will cause an incredible amount of disruption for Telus. Currently customers are facing hours-long waits and weeks for appointment times with all members currently working. Now imagine removing all those members. 


In Strength and Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee