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Mayor releases details of Cochrane’s new municipal contract

Cochrane, Ont. Mayor Peter Politis has released some details of the agreement the municipality reached with CUPE Local 71 – the union representing about 60 municipal workers – which were on strike for eight weeks this summer, in a statement Sunday.

Politis said he is releasing the statement on behalf of council to make “much-needed acknowledgments and provide ongoing transparency and communication with the public.”

“Our challenge,” he said, in the statement. “was to find balance in being fair to our employees, who we care about and respect, while also being fair to the public who ultimately pays for this while they too are also trying to navigate these volatile and unstable times.”

Politis thanked the public for their patience throughout the labour disruptions.

“We are content that while there is an increased cost to the public as a result of the strike, the cost was kept manageable and reasonable, all considered,” he said.

According to the statement, the deal agreed to was two per cent for the first year, three per cent for the second year, 2.75 per cent for year three and 2.5 per cent for the final year of the contract – stating this is approximately a 0.75 per cent increase from the town’s starting position in negotiations.

Politis called the deal “a balanced and fair outcome” while expressing relief that the strike is now behind them.

“While none of us prefer to go through job action and the difficult strain that creates, our hope is that everyone appreciates the importance of separating the need to do so from the people and personal relationships we all value together,” he said.

“We know emotions and personal feelings are high during a strike. It’s important for all of us to rise above and not take anything personally.”

Union representatives also expressed a desire to move past the unpleasantness of the strike and get back to serving the public when the tentative agreement was first announced.

“It was a long road but our members stayed on it and kept the pressure on the Town of Cochrane,” said Lyne Nolet, CUPE Local 71 president, in a statement on Sept. 22.

“I’m so proud of the members and of the bargaining committee. Now we look forward to getting back to work.”

In Cochrane, 60 members CUPE Local 71 have off the job since July 31/23. (File photo)

This statement comes as the Town of Cochrane has announced it is looking ahead to future growth and hopes to build the services required to welcome new families.

“Our community is poised for some very exciting opportunities ahead and our hope is that we turn the page and start the next chapter,” said Politis.

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