School support staff union expects 'strong' strike mandate

CUPE Ontario Avail

The union representing 55,000 education workers in Ontario is asking for a strike mandate from its members as students head back to class across the province.

CUPE's Ontario School Board Council of Unions says the custodians, clerical workers and educational assistants it represents begin a strike vote today.

Union president Laura Walton says she expects workers will give the union a ``strong'' mandate when voting finishes in two weeks.

Contracts for teachers and education workers in the province expired on Aug. 31, and bargaining for new deals is still in its early stages.

The union has not ruled out a range of labour actions if talks with the government and school boards are not productive including work to rule.

CUPE has previously said its central bargaining priorities are wages, benefits, job security and sick leave.