Statement from CUPE National President Mark Hancock and National Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick:

“Front-line education workers in communities across Ontario have sent the Ford Conservative government a powerful message: they believe in the value of public education and the value of public education workers, and they’re willing to walk the picket line to stand up for it.

“Over the past 10 days, over 45,000 education workers represented by the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) have voted. An incredible 96.5 per cent have of them have voted resoundingly in support of strike action after months of intransigence by the Ford government. We want to acknowledge the incredible organizing effort that this took, and we want to salute our members who worked their hearts out to deliver these strong results. Achieving nearly 83 per cent voter turnout among a membership of 55,000 in the space of 10 days is historic and shows just how determined education workers in Ontario really are.

“While the vote doesn’t guarantee that a strike will happen, it does make one thing clear: an unstoppable majority of education workers in Ontario have had enough with the Ford government’s underfunding, undervaluing, and undermining of public education. They have said enough with the unfair and indefensible status quo that hurts workers, students, families, and communities.

“CUPE National and our 700,000 members nationwide will stand with our OSBCU sisters and brothers. They will have the full support of our national union until a fair deal that respects workers and students is reached.”