Northern Ontario School of Medicine support staff walked off the job Aug. 16, frustrated by almost a year of negotiations for a first contract.
The major issues standing in the way of a contract include hours of work, sick leave, contracting out, family leaves and wages. The school is seeking to impose a two-year freeze on wages in line with provincial government pressures to rein in spending, even though employees have not seen an increase since July 2008.
For the union involved in negotiations, the issue is fairness and respect.
“This is about getting the same consideration and rights accorded to academic workers,” said Yuk-Sem Won, president of the NOMS Faculty and Staff Association/OPSEU 677, which represents about 150 administrative, clerical and technical staff at the school.
Talks continue in September with a ministry of labour mediator.