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Simcoe County support staff and social service workers, members of CUPE Locals 3110 and 2710, are back at work following a bitter lockout that began February 20.

The main dispute was over wages. Simcoe County managers had been awarded huge increases. Front-line workers were being offered 2.5 per cent a year. Management decided to play hardball and told the union that if the workers voted down the final offer, they would automatically be locked out.

The workers held firm on the picket line, voting down a second offer. They accepted a third offer that gives them 2.5 per cent retroactive to November 2001, 2.75 per cent in the second year, and 3 per cent in the third year of the contract. They also won a signing bonus of $300 across the board.