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Ontario education workers vote 93 per cent in favour of job action

Last Updated Sep 16, 2019 at 8:30 pm EDT

Ontario education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) have voted 93 per cent in favour of job action amid negotiations with the province.

The vote, which has been taking place since late August across Ontario, will leave 55,000 CUPE employees in a legal strike position as of Sept. 30.

Negotiations between the central bargaining unit, CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, and the province are expected to continue on Tuesday and Wednesday.

President of the Council of Unions Laura Walton said they will continue to work to avoid a labour disruption but added in a release, “CUPE education workers are ready to stand up for the services that they provide and that students and families depend on.”

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said he was disappointed in CUPE’s decision in a statement, adding their government would not be deterred from their mission “to reach a deal that ensures students remain in the class.”

“We continue to call on all parties to reach a deal in good faith as soon as possible to ensure our kids remain in class. Our students deserve no less,” read a statement from Lecce.

CUPE has previously said the Ford government’s cuts to teaching positions and increases to classroom sizes have made the environment very difficult for talks toward a new contract.

The union also announced a campaign called “Communities Not Cuts” last week aimed at stopping funding cuts that they say could hurt local communities.

President of CUPE Fred Hahn said some of the union actions could include petitions, putting pressure on MPPs, funding other like-minded groups, as well as strikes.