In the current political and labour relations environment, there is a high possibility of wildcat or illegal strikes. Local Executive may be approached by members with a question or concern related to ongoing speculation regarding potential illegal strike action by other unions. Members and Local Executives should review Procedure 25 - “Support by UNA and its members in the event of Job action by other workers.” The Procedure is available in the UNA app and the Policy and Procedure Manual.
In addition, the following are examples of common questions and answers.
Will we join the other unions if they take strike action?
The members of United Nurses of Alberta will determine when and how to undertake job action. UNA members are strongly encouraged to join picket lines and support marches and protests when they are off duty and on their breaks.
I do not want to cross the picket line. Am I required to do so?
Unless the United Nurses of Alberta is on a legal strike, you are legally required to report for scheduled shifts, unless you have a valid reason - eg: sick leave, personal leave day, etc. However, Occupational Health and Safety allows an employee to refuse to work if it is an unsafe situation. All UNA members will have to carefully examine the situation and determine if it is safe to go to work. Nurses should consider who is on strike, the state of cleanliness of the facility, etc.
I do not want to replace someone who is on strike. Am I required to do so?
You are only required to work your scheduled shifts. If you are approached to work additional shifts or to pick up shifts as a casual employee, you should ask who you are replacing and trust the caller is telling you the truth. If you are told you are replacing someone who is on strike then you should decline to accept that shift. If the Employer mandates you to report to work then you must report to work and you must be paid overtime. However, the Employer must minimize the use of mandatory overtime, and should an Employee believe that the Employer is requesting the Employee to work more than a reasonable amount of overtime, then the Employee may decline to work the additional overtime, except in an emergency, without being subject to disciplinary action
Can the Employer ask me to perform work that I believe would normally be performed by someone who is on strike? I don't want to be a scab replacement worker. Am I required to perform that task?
An Employee has the right and should refuse to perform all or some of the duties and responsibilities of another employee who is participating in a legal strike. The decision of whether or not a strike is legal is not made by the Employer, but rather by the Labour Relations Board.
If the Labour Relations Board rules a strike to be illegal, you have the right to advise the Employer that you are uncomfortable performing the assigned work and to request the Employer have someone else (ie: management) perform the work. Ultimately, the Employer may give you a direct order to perform a task and then you must 'work now, grieve later'.
I am a member of my Local Executive and my members very much want to join a wildcat strike at my work site. What should I do?
You should contact an Executive Officer for further assistance and advice at 1-800-252-9394.