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CUPE 2196’s 150 social service workers are on strike today after their employer, Child and Family Services of Timmins and District, asked for a forced vote on their latest offer.

“The last thing we wanted was a strike,” said Kim Cress, CUPE 2196 spokesperson. “But CAS management tried to go around the union - it’s clear we cannot resolve our differences without a strike.”

The workers provide child protection, mental health and other counselling services to children and families in a wide area from Moosonee to Temagami. They include social workers, children and youth therapists, mental health counsellors, residential counsellors, early childhood educators, child and welfare workers.

Management wants benefit concessions and other takeaways. Wages and workload language are also still in dispute. Many similar agencies include contract language in their agreements to help with workloads.