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NOSM layoffs violate collective agreement

(SUDBURY) – A plan by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine to layoff up to 17 employees violates terms of their collective bargaining agreement and will be vigorously challenged, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union said today.

“The medical school has elected to layoff 17 of our members without bothering to read the collective agreement that they signed only a few short months ago,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “The fact is we have very specific language in the contract that speaks to displacement rights and other options that can mitigate the impact on affected employees.

“Those members of Local 677 who find themselves laid off can be assured we will challenge this unnecessary move by management on grounds that it deliberately ignored the terms and conditions of their collective agreement. 

OPSEU also contends the layoffs have been rammed through without any consideration or plans for how the job losses will managed by others in the bargaining unit nor how the school will maintain the quality of services which students and the community have come to expect.

The union disputes management’s position that the layoffs are needed to offset budget shortfalls. Instead, the layoffs will trigger serious shortcomings in services that the school has not adequately prepared for. The union is prepared to meet with management to discuss alternatives to simply cutting jobs.

OPSEU represents more than 150 staff at NOSM in Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins.

The layoffs affect staff members at campuses at Lakehead University and Laurentian University. The sole employee of the school’s Timmins satellite campus has also been handed an unemployment notice.

In total, the layoffs will cut support services at NOSM by 11 per cent.

“These layoffs represent a dramatic attack on the quality of education that medical students in northern Ontario have come to expect. We urge the school to sit down with our union to work out a plan to restore these jobs while maintaining a level of service that avoids a negative impact on the learning environment,” said OPSEU president Thomas.

Members of Local 677 reached a settlement on their first contract with the school last November following a walk out that lasted three months

For more information:

Denis Boyer OPSEU Staff Representative (Sudbury) 705-560-1502 ext 5640 Len Mason OPSEU Staff Representative (Thunder Bay) cell: 807-626-3592  

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