Management’s decision to release to the media details of a tentative agreement with OPSEU Local 677 at the Northern Ontario School was a deliberate move designed to sour public opinion against the workers, says the chair of the union bargaining team.
“Labour relations experts advise against using the news media as a vehicle in contract negotiations,” said Tyler England, chair of the bargaining team representing 150 office, administrative and technical workers at NOSM. “Clearly this was one lesson NOSM management chose to ignore.”
England was referring to a move Oct. 13 by the Dean of the Medical School, Dr. Roger Strasser, to release the school’s contract position on several issues that members of the Local 677 soundly voted against last week when they were presented with details of the tentative contract settlement.
“There’s nothing to be gained by negotiating through the media,” said England. “The only place that meaningful negotiations can produce a just and fair settlement is at the bargaining table. We’re ready to sit down on a moment’s notice; unfortunately management prefers to spend its time dealing through the public.”
England said Local 677 has chosen to take the “high ground’ by not releasing its bargaining positions to the public.
“For more than a year we have we have tried telling the employer what the issues are for our members. Judging by the 76.8 per cent of our members who rejected the tentative contract, NOSM has failed to adequately address the issues that matter most to us.”
Members of Local 677 have been on strike at NOSM since Aug. 16.