Questions and Answers
Q: Can I be fired for being on strike?
A: It is illegal for the employer to fire anyone for participating in a concerted action like a strike. This means that permanent, probationary, and extra help workers including student workers are protected. Before members agree to return to work, the union will negotiate an “amnesty agreement” to protect all supporters.
Q: What’s the difference between a sick out and a strike?
A: A sick out is an organized activity in which workers call in sick. Sick outs are prohibited and employees may be subject to discipline which could include termination. Strikes are protected activities under the law. Employees cannot be fired for participating in a strike.
Q: Will I be covered with health insurance during the strike?
A: Insurance is paid in advance. You will be covered for all time paid by your employer in advance. The union will research the exact periods of payments and coverage. If a strike is prolonged, members can purchase health insurance from their employer.
Q: Does the Union Strike Fund pay me for picketing?
A: No. SEIU uses strike funds to support picketers with food, portable bathrooms, media, rally activities, and legal defense, as well as all other infrastructure needs of such a big action. The union can assist strikers with rent, PG&E, and other bills after the first short paycheck is received. A Hardship Committee of members like you will help determine how hardship funds are allocated.
Q: Will we strike for one day or one week or …?
A: First, the membership must vote to authorize a strike. This vote gives the Bargaining Team the authority to strategically select the time and duration of a walkout that will be most effective in reaching the members’ bargaining objectives. If the members choose the traditional “open-ended” strike, members will remain out until the employer agrees to a contract the Bargaining Team can recommend. You need to stay in touch with your CAT in order to stay informed about these decisions.
Q: Will I be paid when I am on strike?
A: No. You will receive your last paycheck when it is normally received.
Q: What happens to people who have to cross a picket line?
A: Individuals who the employer identifies as Essential Workers and are served with a restraining order prohibiting them from striking should go to work as they normally do, as violating a court order can lead to jail and termination. The Union will supply these members with Essential Worker badges to identify their special status. They can support the efforts of the other members by joining their co-workers on the picket line before work, lunch time & during their breaks. For an “open ended” strike, Essential Workers can donate some or all of their pay during a walkout to the Strike Fund.