Municipal workers in the town of Cochrane, Ontario, on strike since July 31, primarily over wages, have just rejected an offer during a forced vote, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“The employer may try to make their most recent offer seem better than it is, but we see through the spin and that’s why the members overwhelmingly voted against it during this forced vote,” said Lyne Nolet, president of CUPE 71, representing the roughly 60 members now on strike. “The offer just wasn’t good enough, it doesn’t help us get ahead let alone keep up in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, and it isn’t even comparable to other municipalities. And so we’ll keep the strike up until we get a deal we deserve.”

While the union has made it clear they won’t settle for less than a wage increase of 3% per year, the Town of Cochrane’s most recent offer was only 2% for 2022; 3% for 2023; and 2% or CPI, whichever is greater as established by Statistics Canada on January 1, with a cap of 3%, for both 2024 and 2025.

Despite this, the employer’s bargaining team put out an email to all Town of Cochrane employees inaccurately saying that they “tabled what we felt was an innovative wage proposal that gets employees a retroactive increase of 2% in year 1, 3% in year 2, and then 3% in years 3 and 4 provided the rate of inflation is at or above that level.”

“What they’re saying about years 3 and 4 is just completely false and a desperate act to mislead,” said Nolet. “But we didn’t fall for it. We know we deserve better than a forced vote on an inadequate offer. We’ll stay on the line until we get it.” 

CUPE 71 members are on the picket lines at Cochrane Town Hall, 171 4th Ave, Cochrane, ON, and they are asking residents and supporters to send a message to council and the mayor through this e-action: