Frequently Asked Questions


Why do I need to use a non YSB email address to get union updates ?

So there are a couple of reasons

  • If we ever need to go on strike we need to have a way to communicate with each other that we have control over, if rely on the email service the employer provides that could take it away making it harder for us to organize.
  • It’s more confidential, the employer has access to all the emails you send with their email service, it’s very unlikely they are spying on you but this is just a way to keep it confidential.
  • Simply, YSB emails should be used for YSB business.


Why unionize?

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How many members in our Local?

We have just under 300 members, approximately half are full time and half are part time.

What is the union board ?

Union boards are cork boards hung up in every unit where you can go to find information about meetings, seniority lists, and other things related to the union.

Union Dues ?

Monthly union dues are automatically deducted off your paycheque, when this was written (2015) it was 1.4% of your gross wages.  Your union dues go to a few different places

  • About 0.9% of our gross wages or %66 of your dues goes to CUPE National. CUPE National represents around 628,000 members across Canada. With these funds, CUPE maintains a National Strike Fund and National Defence Fund to ensure CUPE members have the resources to defend their jobs and wages. It also uses the funds to hire staff.Our local is assigned a National Representative who looks after our local and assists us with our needs in terms of grievances, research, solving problems, bargaining and negotiations with Management. National also provides us legal advice and counsel as deemed necessary. CUPE National runs campaigns,and trainings, and advocates for workers.
  • About 0.04% of your gross wage goes to our affiliation with CUPE Ontario. CUPE Ontario is the political wing of the Canadian Union of Public Employees—Canada’s largest union—in the country’s largest province. With more than 240,000 members, CUPE Ontario fights for rights and fairness for our members and our communities. We work at the provincial level for legislative, policy and political change on issues affecting public services, equality, healthy communities and a better Ontario for everyone.

The remainder of that 1.4% remains with the local

  • Expenses, such as paid union leave for executive members, and other union members conducting union business during regular working hours only also uses a percentage. Over and beyond this the work the exec and stewards do is voluntary. The details of what is paid out for hours and expenses is in our bylaws.
  • Another percentage is budgeted for legal expenses mainly for arbitration and mediation cases and for other consultations requiring legal counsel.
  • Our local does not have an office; however a percentage of the total dues goes towards cell phone communication, bills, sometimes food at union meetings etc.
  • Other expenses such as conferences, conventions, education seminars requiring delegation from our local take the remaining percentage.

How can the union help?

With your participation, your union can:

Negotiate fair collective agreements that provide decent wages, benefits and workplace protection for you and your family. Workers not in a union tend to have lower wages, fewer benefits and less workplace protection.

Protect you when you face issues related to pay, hours, holidays, working conditions, harassment, safety or other workplace issues. Your union is there to represent and help you.

Provide you and fellow CUPE members with a strong voice that advocates for legislative changes that benefit our communities and protect public services, while promoting social justice.

Make gains for union members that have a real impact on the wages, benefits and rights of all other workers. Many of the gains made through collective agreements have proven popular with the public and become law or common practice – like fair wages, statutory holidays, employment standards, pay equity, health and safety regulations, sick leave, discrimination protection and paid vacation – just to name a few.

Its also important to know that the union is not an organization you pay to do things for you, its not the same as a lawyer, or a real estate agent or similar professional. The union can do things on your behalf but the union is only as strong as its members. The dues go to provide infrastructure and resources that can helps you organize around what you and your fellow members want.  The real power of a union is people working together as a group to advocate. Its not always easy to get on the same page as your co-workers and advocate for change, but the union is a great vehicle for that task.

What are some things the union has already done for me ?

  • Benefits for Part Time employees.
  • Competitive wages.
  • Obtained and maintained a defined benefit pension plan, which is
  • Sick days for when you are sick, or for when you need them as a form of short term disability support.
  • Numerous gains and tweaks in terms of scheduling.
  • Parental leave top ups.
  • Argued numerous grievances annually on members behalf to protect their rights.
  • Maintained a voice to reflect members concerns at the Labour management meetings.
  • Worked in conjunction with national and provincial parts of the union to advocate for the concerns of members and workers.

I have a specific concern about my workplace.

The Union will help any employee having a complaint which may become a grievance arising out of the interpretation, application, administration or alleged violation of the Collective Agreement. Your Steward will assist in trying to solve the issue at the Complaint Stage which is the first step of the Grievance Process. If it is not resolved at that stage, it may be escalated through the steps of the Grievance Procedure, all with the assistance of the Steward, the Chief Steward and the President if necessary. If warranted, an unresolved grievance can also go to mediation or arbitration. This procedure is outlined in more detail in the Collective Agreement (available on the Collective Agreement page)