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More than 200 Simcoe County social and children’s services, administration, museums and archives workers have given their union a mandate to call a strike if they do not reach an agreement with the county by November 12.

Our members voted 79% in favour of strike action last night,” said Bev Patchell, president of CUPE 5820.  “We have a clear message to take back to Simcoe County’s negotiators: don’t try to take money out of our pockets to fix the problems created by your restructuring.”

County restructuring that began in 2002 has skewed established wage grids, Patchell said, noting that the union wants to ensure that the process for evaluating jobs remains intact.

It’s a question of fairness.  We can’t have people doing essentially the same work being paid significantly different amounts.  At the same time, our members need a general wage increase that will help them and their families keep pace with rising costs.”

The union is currently working with the provincially-appointed mediator to establish new dates to return to the bargaining table with Simcoe County.