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Custodial, maintenance, office and technical employees of the Near North District School Board in Ontario, members of CUPE Local 1165, went on strike March 19 in schools from North Bay to Parry Sound.

Enough is enough, says local president Pamela Avis Pollock. Many of our members have not seen a raise in ten years, yet this board is trying to harmonize to lower wage rates, meaning most workers wouldnt see a raise for another ten years.

The Near North board was formed from a merger of the Nipissing, East Parry Sound and West Parry Sound boards. The employer has proposed that wages be harmonized over ten years, leaving workers from the better paid former Nipissing board red-circled for the next decade. Benefits and vacations are also under attack.

Educational workers wages have been eroded over several years as inflation has outpaced wage increases. The Boards last offer would have been a major step backwards for the majority of workers.