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NORTH BAY The union representing office, clerical and technical staff of the Near North District School Board predicts back to school will mean back to chaos following layoffs affecting schools across the district which covers a vast area stretching from Sturgeon Falls to Mattawa and south to MacTier.

“Many schools will be losing their secretary part of the week,” says Colleen Bercier, Nipissing Area vice-president of CUPE Local 1165. “Our primary concern is for the children, who wont have access to the office for phone calls, and for parents who need to contact children in cases of family emergency.”

Local 1165 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), represents 100 employees affected by layoffs announced this summer. The equivalent of 10 full-time positions have been slashed.

“Most of our members found out the last day of school, not through a letter of notice, but after their vice-principals received an e-mail letting them know about the staff cuts,” says Donna Preston, East Parry Sound vice-president. “In one case, a secretary learned during a conference call that she neednt bother coming back in September. Come September, many schools still wont know who will be working and in many cases whether theyll have anyone at all.”

“Secretaries and clerical staff are already stretched to the bone, overworked and understaffed,” says Pam Avis Pollock, West Parry Sound Area vice-president. “This attack on the lowest paid group of educational workers is really an attack on the quality of our childrens educational environment.”

“Secretaries and clerical staff are often the first line of defense for school security, knowing who belongs there and who doesnt,” says Donna Preston. “We make sure only authorized adults enter the school premises now many of us will be gone.”

“This does not bode well for our contract negotiations with the Board, says Rob Russell, president of CUPE Local 1165. “We have filed grievances on these layoffs and we will be fighting them at the bargaining table.”


For further information, please contact:

Donna Preston Colleen Bercier Pam Avis Pollock
East Parry Sound VP Nipissing VP West Parry Sound VP
(705) 386-2363 (w) (705) 472-2330 (w) (705) 746-9333 (w)
(705) 384-5564 (h) (705) 497-3991 (h) (705) 746-4816 (h)
Rob Russell Walter Kornacky Robert Lamoureux
President CUPE National Rep. CUPE Communications
(705) 474-7740 (w)
(705) 476-0835 (h)
(705) 474-9765 (416) 292-3999