Unionized faculty and staff at NOSM University in Sudbury and Thunder Bay are ready to enter provincially mediated conciliation with the administration of the medical school, said a news release Thursday from the NOSM U Faculty and Staff Association (NUFSA), part of OPSEU Local 677.
NUFSA and the university administration remain far apart on important issues of job security; however, the union is entering conciliation with strong community support from students, alumni, staff, and community members, said the news release.
It was just over one month ago in mid-August that the union revealed its local membership had voted 100 per cent in favour of strike action to back demands for a better contract with the medical school
Very little information has been made public with respect to the status of negotiations.
NOSM U, formerly the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, said it was committed to proceeding in good faith and finding common ground in the current negotiations with unionized employees at its campuses in Sudbury and Thunder Bay.
The union was less than satisfied with the status of the negotiations, said the Local 677 release:
"To make their dissatisfaction with the administration’s position clear, union members and supporters have been sending emails to the university's senior administration, including President Verma and Board Chair, Warkentin," said the union.
"To date, the administration has received over 1,325 emails expressing support for a fair contract in line with other Ontario medical schools to ensure NOSM U students attain the best quality, Northern-specific education. The administration has not provided a response to emails," the union release continued.
NUFSA and the university administration remain far apart on important issues of job security, said the union.
However, NUFSA said it is entering conciliation with strong community support from students, alumni, staff, and community members.
“Clearly, the community is concerned that the University administration remains at odds with supporting a vision of NOSM U as a public university in Canada with an equitable workload, learning and research conditions that are the same as other medical schools," the release continued.
"The administration’s ongoing refusal to engage in meaningful dialogue with NUFSA has the potential to compromise the quality of medical education in Northern Ontario," said Darrel Manitowabi, President of the NOSM U Faculty and Professional Staff Union.
NUFSA and its supporters are calling on the administration to demonstrate a willingness to use the conciliation process to negotiate a fair and equitable collective agreement that benefits faculty, staff, students, and the Northern Ontario community, the release concluded.