What Is a General Unlimited Strike?

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Montreal and Quebec teachers recently voted in favour of a general unlimited strike beginning May 31st. What is a general unlimited strike? What are the rules for striking legally?

Coordinated work stoppage

A strike is when workers decide to stop working when their collective agreement expires. The goal of a strike is to paralyze the business and force the employer to reach a satisfactory agreement.

Legal strikes

Workers must follow some rules to strike legally. They must be part of a legally recognized union. Their collective agreement must also have expired for at least 90 days. Finally, the union must send a written notice a little over a week before the strike.

Did you know? Police and firefighters are not allowed to strike by law.

Different kinds of strikes

A “general” strike means that all the workers in a bargaining unit stop working at the same time. A “rotating” strike means that groups of workers stop working in rotation.

In the same sense, strikes can be for a specific time (a limited strike) or an indefinite time (unlimited strike)

Limits on the employer’s power

The employer is not allowed to replace, fire, or discipline a worker who exercises their right to strike.