November 25th, 2019 update – still a no go CUPE3799

Monday, November 25th, 2019. This is a milestone for our Local with being out on a picket line. We are on calendar day 18; day 12 of actual picket duty.

Why is this something I’m expressing quite clearly to start this update email? Well, we have some assurances today from some people who have filed for EI that their claims are being received and/or are in the process of being reviewed. It is my understanding that you can apply online and do not need the official Record of Employment (ROE) from the employer to start the process. I would still go through the process of requesting an ROE.

Joyce sent out information about this in the email she sent on Friday regarding the Food Bank. I have copied from her post:

For regular employment insurance go to:  You’ll need to request a Record of Employment from payroll ( in order to apply for EI. Sometimes it’s better to head down to Service Canada and actually talk to someone in person. There is a better chance that they actually know what’s going on here in Prince George and might be able to direct you to other resources.

If you haven’t applied yet (like me for example), please do so.

At this point in time, the Local cannot advise on how to fill out the forms, so please don’t ask members of the Executive or your fellow CUPE members. For example: do you claim strike pay as earned income as strike pay is not taxable earnings? Please ask Service Canada and get the correct answer.

It typically takes two weeks to get a claim going, but it is back dated. We have had varied responses today. CUPE members that applied the first day of job action that have not yet received information on the status of their claim, right up to people that started their claim within the last week and have been receiving information.

It seems clear at this point to the Local now, that job action that is not attributed to our own strike, may qualify for EI.

Next – where are we – it’s day 18!

I contacted Stephen Rader today and had a frank conversation with him. CUPE members are frustrated, it’s a month before Christmas and cold, cold weather is coming this week. He advised that he could not reach the bargaining team, which he stated was a good sign as that meant they were likely at the bargaining table.  I read the Labour update on the University website tonight and they are saying classes are canceled again tomorrow, November 26th.

Picket Duty – where can I picket and what time?

CUPE members are nothing if not vocal (I think that’s a really good thing). Those picketing at WIDC were pretty firm that they wanted to remain at WIDC. As such the shift will be shortened somewhat but Marlina will be at WIDC at 8:00 a.m. and John will finish the shift at 2:00 p.m. If you want to picket at WIDC, you have to arrive and sign in no later than 10:00 a.m. Please assist the Picket Captains as they are there for you!

Up the hill at the University, the temperatures are decidedly colder than WIDC. It is appreciated that for the most part, picketers are willing to work with going to one shift with the shuttle service starting to run at 8:00 a.m. and running until 9:00 a.m. The shuttle service then begins to bring people down at noon and continues until 1:00 p.m. Again, please pay attention to which shuttle you are on to ensure you have a ride down the hill – we don’t want to leave anyone behind.

If you need an exception to be made for picketing duties up at the University, you want to picket at a different time for some reason, please contact the Strike Captain, Dale Laluk at He will advise you of the processes the Executive have set up.

Please know, signing in for picket duty and signing out is ultimately your responsibility. It is not up to Picket Captains to chase you down, though most of them are pretty amazing and are checking the lists.

This is an important week and I think we are all aware of the dates.

Just remember, we just have to stay one day stronger, and one day longer, than those negotiating. We can do anything for one day . . .

Much respect to all,


Caroline Sewell


CUPE Local 3799

University of Northern

British Columbia