Municipal workers in Cochrane, Ontario, are on strike as of this morning after rejecting an agreement, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“We were able to push the employer in the right direction on a few key issues, but wages are still a major issue,” said Lyne Nolet, President of CUPE 71, representing the roughly 60 members now on strike. “The monetary package on offer is still well below the rate of inflation, meaning that members who keep the town of Cochrane running would only be seeing a wage cut. That’s unacceptable. We’d rather continue to deliver the services Cochrane relies on, but we’re also willing to go on strike to send a message that we deserve better.”

The decision to reject the ratification of an agreement follows a press release by the Mayor’s Office on July 28th, which incorrectly predicted a strike would be averted. Citing a confidentiality clause that the parties signed, CUPE 71 says that the release worsens relations between the two.

“We need the Mayor and Council to truly respect what we do and to engage with us with respect,” said Nolet. “We’re on the line today until we get what we deserve. We simply deserve better pay and that’s why we’re on the line now.”

CUPE 71 members are on the picket lines at Cochrane City Hall, 171 4th Ave, Cochrane, ON.