NOSM Strike

By Candace Jazvac

On Aug. 16, Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 677, which represents 152 office, clerical and technical workers at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) began picketing at the entrances of Laurentian University.  After nearly 18 months of contract negotiations, 97 percent of OPSEU Local 677 members voted in favour of the strike.

Major sticking points in contract negotiations, which have been going on since September 2009, include wages, sick and family leaves, hours of work and overtime.  Once negotiated, this will be the first collective agreement for the OPSEU 677 workers.  Both the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and OPSEU 677 are committed to reaching an agreement as soon as possible, however no further talks have been scheduled.

OPSEU has set up picket lines at both entrances to Laurentian University, as well as in Thunder Bay at NOSM’s West Campus. Although Laurentian University is not a party in this labour dispute between OPSEU and NOSM, the university has been in talks with OPSEU to attempt to lessen wait times and minimize the impact of the strike on students.  OPSEU has agreed to provide free flowing access to Laurentian students, staff and faculty, Greater Sudbury transit, Handi-transit, and all other members of the university community.  Although this agreement has been reached, and OPSEU has encouraged Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), who represent Greater Sudbury transit drivers, to resume full service to the Laurentian campus, Sudbury transit will not service the campus while the picket line is in place.

In response to this, Laurentian University has arranged a shuttle service to transport students from the main entrance into campus.  This shuttle will run every 10 to 15 minutes between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.Photo by Andy Veilleux

Story posted by Ed Veilleux