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NOSM U Faculty and Professional Staff request ‘no-board’—potential strike looms

THUNDER BAY AND SUDBURY, October 10, 2023 – Despite months of negotiations, the NOSM University administration continues to stonewall proposals crucial for education quality, equity, and job security. As a result, the NOSM U Faculty and Staff Association, representing medical education faculty, librarians, and professional staff, have requested a “no-board” report from the Ministry of Training, Labour and Skills Development. Once issued, this will trigger a countdown to a potential strike or lockout, which could occur as early as the end of October. 

Represented by OPSEU Local 677, NUFSA has been in provincially mediated conciliation with the university administration since September 22, 2023. However, the administration refuses to meaningfully address concerns about working and learning conditions at the university. This, despite university employees, students, and the broader community demanding action from NOSM U President Sarita Verma and her bargaining team. 

“With more than 2500 letters advocating for investments in education quality, equity, and job security being sent to the university administration, we know the community understands the importance of medical education in Northern Ontario and supports our efforts to defend the integrity of education at NOSM U,” said Darrel Manitowabi, President of NUFSA. “To maintain high-quality medical education in Northern Ontario comparable to other medical schools in the province, the university administration must invest in working and learning conditions instead of trying to strip away the rights of faculty, librarians, and staff who have dedicated themselves to advancing the university’s mission.” 

With NOSM U enrollments projected to double in the next five years, the administration’s proposals would erode equity and job security for faculty, librarians, and professional staff, undermining the university’s capacity to train the doctors Northern Ontario communities so desperately need.

“As NOSM U grows and expands, it is incomprehensible that the university administration would be focused on depriving faculty, librarians, and staff of the rights and resources vital for their work,” said Nicole Bessette, President of OPSEU Local 677, which represents the unionized medical education workforce at NOSM U.“At a time when it is so important to be training more physicians to serve in Northern Ontario, this administration is making proposals that will erode equity and job security.”

NUFSA remains committed to trying to reach a deal at the bargaining table to avert a strike. For that to happen, the university administration must come to the table with a fair deal that protects education quality, equity, and job security. If this requires faculty, librarians, and staff at the university to strike, then that is exactly what they will do. 

Help us avoid a strike at NOSM U. Make your voice heard by sending an email to the university administration urging them to invest in high quality medical education, equity, and job security:

Founded in 2005, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine University Faculty and Staff Association is one of two OPSEU/SEFPO bargaining units representing NOSMU’s 41 full-time faculty, professional librarians, and professional staff. NUFSA is a CAUT & OCUFA Affiliate.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dr. Darrel Manitowabi, NUFSA President, at Tel (705) 929-0177, email: [email protected].