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Note to all Windsor Program Learners regarding possible strike - from the desk of Gerry Cooper

Sunday, September 8, 2013

From Gerry Cooper, Friday, Sept. 6:
As we reconvene the 2013-2014 academic period, I want you to know of my appreciation for choosing the Windsor Program to study medicine. Without you, we would not have a medical school in this community, nor would we have been able to graduate fifty-four physicians from the undergraduate medical education program to date, not to mention all the postgraduate training that has taken place here.

News of a potential strike at the University of Windsor might have already reached you. Please know that we plan to maintain our medical education program even if such a labour dispute materializes between the University of Windsor and CUPE Local 1393 (skilled trades and technical employees). CUPE 1393 has filed a No-Board report and will be in a legal strike position just after midnight on Sunday, September 8, 2013 (see here for more details).

This would affect thirteen Windsor Program employees leaving only a skeleton staff to maintain our presence at the Medical Education Building and two Windsor hospitals. Of those who would not be on strike, three administrative staff are part of the CAW union which is holding a strike vote tomorrow. This could further complicate matters.

While it is unclear how picketing might impact access to the various University of Windsor parking lots or its buildings, please know that we will be open for business at the Medical Education Building. Updates about the picketing situation can be had by phoning/emailing either Nicole Sbrocca (519) 564-3435 or myself (519) 819-2034 Our primary focus during this period will be our learners and faculty: to ensure they/you are safe and that you will continue to be able to connect with one another.

Our primary vehicle for sharing information with learners, faculty and colleagues will be via the Internet; we are currently working with Schulich Medicine's Communications Department so a definitive URL link will be provided shortly which we will share with you.

We plan to focus our energies (and limited administrative resources) on maintaining our core UME and PGME businesses. Continuing professional education (CPD) and other special events may have to be rescheduled. Our attendance at Schulich Medicine business meetings will likely also be negatively impacted, although, we will do our best to attend as many meetings as possible. If required, we will increase our reliance of video-conferencing.

If a strike is declared, our Educational Assistants who ordinarily work from the two hospitals (Windsor Regional Hospital and Hotel Dieu-Grace Hospital) will likely also be impacted. That said, we anticipate that the strike would have a minimally-disruptive impact on those engaged in clinical placements including clerkship and residency. Resident accommodations will continue to be available at the new Medical Arts Building at 1011 Ouellette Avenue.

Our London colleagues will also be supporting us during this period and if needed, more sessions will be video-conferenced. Learner Equity and Wellness services would continue to be available to you here in Windsor via Dr. Art Kidd and/or via the LEW Office in London.

Should you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter, I look forward to hearing from you. Of course we will continue to hope that the two sides will be able to come to an amicable agreement prior to the strike deadline. Either way, I look forward to meeting up with you in the not too distant future.


Gerry Cooper