Ontario: The Canadian Union of Public Employees announced on Monday that Ontario education workers such as librarians, caretakers, education assistants and administration staff have voted 96.5 per cent in favour of a strike.

CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU), which represents 55,000 workers of Catholic, English and French school systems, last month asked its members for voting to decide weather to announce the strike after talks with provincial negotiators were disappointing.

The union has been demanding a $3.25 per hour or 11.7 per cent increase in annual allowances, as well as minimum staffing requirements, early childhood educators earmarked for each kindergarten class, and $100 million for 1,500 to 1,700 new employment opportunities.

Laura Walton, the president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions said that no one wants to go on a strike, especially not the lowest-paid education workers but if the Ontario government will not budge they will announce the strike that is good for students, for families and for workers.

Earlier, the Ford government had offered a two-percent year increase to education workers earning less than $40,000 a year and a 1.25 percent increase to all others under the proposed four-year deal.

“The Ford government should stop playing games with us and accept our legitimate and appropriate proposal,” said Walton.

Education Minister Stephen Licht had earlier condemned the union’s move and asked them to not gather votes for the strike.

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