The Union says it is still willing to negotiate, does not want to withhold services from their community 

P199, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia
On Wednesday a no-board report was filed by the Town of Cochrane with the Ministry of Labour, beginning the 17-day countdown to a lockout by the Town or a strike by members of CUPE 71.

 “We’re disappointed by our employer’s choice to file a no-board,” said Lyne Nolet, an operations clerk and president of CUPE 71, which represents the town’s non-management staff. “Our members don’t want to withhold services; we want to continue to provide great services for the town and our community, but we may have to take action if we want to be heard and respected by our employer.” 

After more than 16 months of bargaining, members of CUPE 71 are still fighting for an equitable increase in wages, which have fallen behind inflation by nearly 12 percent since 2018. Other outstanding issues include equal recognition of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation across all departments and scheduling. 

In May, members of CUPE 71 overwhelmingly voted 96 percent in favour of strike action. 

“We’re keeping communication open and we’re completely open to continuing to negotiate with the Town of Cochrane,” Nolet said. “Bargaining has also been hard because of the Town’s consistent turnover in management.”  

Members of CUPE 71 work in the fire department, corporate services, public works, parks & recreation, water & sewer services, and daycare. A main concern of members is hiring and retaining staff. 

“Hiring and keeping staff has been an issue, especially when wages are far below inflation,” Nolet said. “Other towns in our area, including Smooth Rock Falls, have increased members’ wages significantly more than what we’re being offered now. Our members love our community, and we want to stay in our community. Cochrane works because we work.” 

The previous collective agreement for CUPE Local 71 expired in December 2021.