A thousand workers at the University of Toronto, including maintenance workers, caretakers, groundskeepers, veterinary technologists, casual workers, student residence and foodservice staff, and others voted 93% to strike if their employer does not take action to address the rising cost of living and provide a living wage.

“The cost of rent keeps going up. The price of food, of gas, of transit are all going up. More and more, we can’t afford to live in the city we work in. We take this step because we believe that one job at a world class institution should be enough to live in the GTA,” said Luke Daccord, president of CUPE 3261, which represents about 1000 workers at the university.

The vote follows a similar decision by 7000 academic workers in CUPE Local 3902, meaning 8000 University of Toronto workers will be in a legal strike position on March 4th.

“So often we’re the people who see students every day and are a constant in their lives as they’re adjusting to living away from home for the first time,” said Daccord. “Working at a public university shouldn’t be like working for a corporation. But for many of our members that is their reality. It’s time the university recognized that service workers too, are integral to the university’s mission of providing a world class educational experience. This vote is a demand for respect, dignity, and a living wage.”