Now that the strike is here the next question is how long is this going to go for. Many figures have been thrown around from 48 hours to 12 weeks. Both of those figures are highly unlikely. In my experience with labour disruptions and strikes it will last at least one week for two reasons: primarily because the dust has to settle for the bargaining teams to get their acts together and meet up again and secondly because the union has already gone on strike so they will want to hold out as long as possible to get the best deal. After the period of “disruption” it will probably take another week to come to an agreement and for anything to be ratified by the union. Remember the bargaining team has the ultimate authority in accepting or declining an offer, member votes are only “strong recommendations” of what they should do.
So at minimum I think we are looking at a minimum two week strike.
The union is trying to get a new 2 year contract so that they can sit at the bargaining table at the “Ontario-wide University-sector union initiative.” This means that whatever concessions they get now will be nothing compared to what they are going to try and go far in 2010! The University is going to try and prevent this by offering them a three year contract so that their contract does not expire in the 2010 year and they cannot participate with other CUPE locals on a larger scale. This is a sticky point that I do not think the University will agree to. They do not want to have another POTENTIAL strike in another two years.
I believe it is this point that will drag this strike out longer than any other demand.
This is my personal interpretation of what is happening. I encourage you all to read the administration’s side and the union’s side at their respective websites.