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Support staff at the Prairie Land School Division in Alberta have voted 94% in favour of joining the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The employees had previously been members of an independent staff association.

Roughly 70 employees will become members of Canada’s largest union after the Labour Relations Board vote was counted yesterday in Calgary. The school division is geographically one of the largest in the province, encompassing 15,500 square kilometers in the East central region of the province.

CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts said the employees came to CUPE after the employer made it clear they intended to bargain aggressively, tabling contract demands without wage increases.

As the largest union in Canada, and the union with the most school board employee members, CUPE is in a unique position to offer these employees support they can’t find anywhere else,” said Roberts. “They now have the benefit of a network of K-12 employees, professional negotiators, research assistance, public relations advice and training that no other union can offer.”

CUPE represents over 7,000 school board employees in Alberta.