"I have nothing but admiration for the solidarity and toughness demonstrated by members.' - Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU president. - Updated
Sudbury (9 Nov. 2010) - Administrative, clerical and technical staff at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) have ratified a tentative contract agreement and are set to resume work on Nov. 15.
The workers, members of Local 677 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE), have been on strike since Aug. 15 trying to win a first contract with the institution.
The contract was formally approved by NOSM’s board of directors on Nov. 9, ending an 81-day strike at NOSM’s campuses at Laurentian University in Sudbury and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. The school also operates satellite campuses in Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins.
“We are in the process of negotiating a back-to-work protocol with the employer but at this point it looks as if our members will be back on the job Nov. 15,” said OPSEU bargaining team chair Tyler England. “Negotiating our first contract has been a long and difficult process but now we’re looking to move forward,” he added.
The three-year contract, retroactive to May 1, 2009, calls for a 3.25% wage increase and includes contract language that enshrines existing benefits and pension. The agreement also includes a one-time, $2,000 transition payment pro-rated for part-time employees.
"First contracts are always the toughest to settle," says OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "I have nothing but admiration for the solidarity and toughness demonstrated by members of Local 677 throughout the duration of the walkout."
Tyler England, chair of the bargaining team representing more than 150 staff members, said workers made the right decision by endorsing the deal. The vote in favour was 78%. They turned down an earlier tentative agreement.
"Our members waited patiently for the right deal to come along and today’s agreement was the one they were prepared to support in a democratic fashion," said England. "I am very proud of the solidarity they demonstrated over the past 12 weeks."
Details of the agreement will be released pending approval by NOSM’s board of directors.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
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