CUPE 3903 Strike Duties Accommodation Procedure

In the event of a strike, all CUPE 3903 members who want to contribute to strike duties and receive picket pay will be given meaningful work. The following policy is for members who cannot picket — or can only picket some of the time — due to a protected ground in the Ontario Human Rights Code. Members who need accommodations are strongly encouraged to sign up now, following the procedures below, for alternative (or “8th Line”) duties.

To request an accommodation for any other reason, please email Please note that priority of alternative duties will be given to members with Ontario Human Rights Code grounds.

What is the 8th Line?

Historically, York has had 7 gates into the university that the Union pickets. The “8th Line” is made up of members requiring accommodated strike duties. Members covered by any of the 17 protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) may have such accommodation needs. Some examples include: if the effects of your disability lead to you not being able to picket, if you are spending time caring for an ill parent or an ill child, if you are breastfeeding or pregnant, or if there is a scheduling conflict with a day of religious observance.

What strike duties do 8th Line Members do?

CUPE 3903 went through a process with CUPE National to create and have approved a list of non-picketing strike duties. This has been necessary because CUPE National will only pay picket pay to 8th line members carrying out work in this pre-approved list (see Appendix 1).

Who can be on the 8th Line?

CUPE 3903 aims to create an inclusive procedure for accommodations. People with any type of OHRC accommodations at York University are automatically approved by CUPE National. If it’s good enough for York, it’s good enough for the union. However, going on strike may give rise to other types of accommodation needs. This procedure allows for member with such needs to seek accommodated strike duties.

Procedure for 8th Line Accommodations

1. A member with an OHRC-based accommodation need(s) makes their need(s) known to the union by contacting, in confidence, Sheila Wilmot, CUPE 3903 Equity Officer (EO). The EO’s role is to facilitate member access to accommodations, through providing information on documentation that CUPE National will likely need, and compiling and forwarding requests to a designated CUPE National staff person (in confidence). The EO has no decision-making role on whether accommodations are approved or not.

Members can contact the EO at Please use the subject heading “Strike Accommodation Request”.

2. The member provides the required documentation – either in electronic form or as a hard copy – of OHRC-based accommodation needs to the EO. The EO scans them and emails them to the CUPE National staff contact, in confidence.

Examples of documentation include: Accommodation approval letter or workplace accommodation plan at York, a doctor’s note, ODSP approval documents. Family-status accommodations (such as care of an ill child or parent) might be a doctor’s note from the care provider. A pregnancy-related accommodation might be a due date letter that includes information about the need for bed rest. No diagnoses need to be included in any documentation.

The Union’s Extended Health Benefits Fund will cover the cost of any documentation required under this procedure. Members can fill out the Option A form and submit it to the office with the receipt.

3. CUPE National will review the accommodation requests and make a decision on whether the member is accommodated for alternate strike duties. CUPE 3903 will encourage CUPE National to provide a timely response (see also #6 below).

They must look at all reasonable accommodations to the point of undue hardship. The list of CUPE National-approved strike duties for this is in Appendix 1.

4. If rejected, the member can go to the CUPE 3903 Accessibility Committee to appeal the decision. One Executive Committee member will be assigned to work with the committee on the appeals process. The EO will assist in preparing members’ appeals documents. If approved, the Union will pay the member for their work out of the CUPE 3903 strike budget. The Executive Committee will also follow up with CUPE National about any approved appeal, to seek reimbursement.

5. Members who acquire an injury, a disability, or have other needs arise for accommodations during the strike, or who were otherwise unable to sign up for accommodations prior to a strike, can also go through this procedure.

6. CUPE 3903 will pay any members who perform CUPE National approved strike duties for 8th line while awaiting CUPE National’s response to an accommodation request.

Policy To Pay Members For The Work

While many duties that would be performed by 8th Line Members during a strike will be approved by CUPE National and thus paid out of strike pay, there are duties that the 8th Line Committee may deem necessary but are not approved by CUPE National.

1. The 8th Line Committee assigns these duties to a member of 8th Line.
2. If CUPE National is not willing to pay the member for these approved strike duties, CUPE 3903 will pay the member out of the strike budget at the same rate of hourly pay.


1. Alternate Strike Duties approved by CUPE National