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Catholic teachers' union to hold strike vote

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TORONTO—The union representing Ontario's Catholic school teachers has decided to vote on a province-wide strike next month.

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) joins the unions representing both elementary and secondary teachers in making such a move.

OECTA president Liz Stuart said the strike vote is a necessary show of force against what she calls “reckless cuts” proposed by the province.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce issued a statement reassuring parents that strike votes are “part of the normal bargaining process.”

He says he encourages the union to work with the government to reach a deal.

The union notes that negotiations with the province can continue while the strike vote—which is set to end on Nov. 13—is being conducted.

The Catholic teachers' union's vote comes as the province negotiates new collective agreements with all of the major teachers' unions, whose contracts expired at the end of August.

The unions representing both secondary and elementary teachers announced strike votes in the past week after saying their talks with the province stalled.

Earlier in the month, the union representing 55,000 education workers reached a tentative deal with the province shortly after giving a strike notice.

Under the deal, CUPE agreed to a one percent wage increase and secured millions in government funding to restore as many as 1,500 jobs cut by the Tories.

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