(SUDBURY – August 16, 2010) More than 150 clerical, administrative and technical staff walked off the job today after contract talks with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine broke down. Picket lines have gone up at the school’s two main campuses in Sudbury, at Laurentian University, and at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. The school also operates satellite campuses in Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie. “All along we have said we were at the table to negotiate a fair contract, not to negotiate for a strike,” said Tyler England, chair of the bargaining team for Local 677 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. “But as the strike deadline drew closer it became more apparent that the employer didn’t appear to be interested in reaching a fair settlement for our members.” In late July members of Local 677 voted 97 per cent in favour of strike action if talks broke down. Five days of mediation last week failed to bring about a settlement. Outstanding issues include hours of work, overtime, sick leaves, family leaves and wages. No future talks are scheduled.