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NEWS RELEASE – TOWN OF COCHRANE AND EMPLOYEES AGREE ON DEAL AND MOVE FORWARD

STATEMENT/OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
October 4, 2023

STATEMENT/OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cochrane Mayor Peter Politis/Cochrane, Ontario
705-272-9527; peter.politis@cochraneontario.com

TOWN OF COCHRANE AND EMPLOYEES AGREE ON DEAL AND MOVE FORWARD

October 1, 2023 – Cochrane, Ontario: Now that the strike is behind us and our workforce is back to work providing the valued public services that they do, on behalf of council I’d like to make some much-needed acknowledgments and provide ongoing transparency and communication with the public that we all continue to serve.

Our challenge as a Town and Council was to find balance in being fair to our employees, who we care about and respect, while also being fair to public who ultimately pays for this while they too are also trying to navigate these volatile and unstable times. In this, the Town and Council would like to congratulate our employees on securing a fair deal to help them as individuals navigate this uncertain era, while also taking the opportunity to express just how happy we are that they are back on the job.
We would also like to thank the public for their patience and understanding throughout the ordeal. As a Council we never lost sight of the fact that ultimately it’s you who pay the price both in the current circumstances of lost services, and the future with paying the bill. As usual our community stood tall and classy throughout.

At the same time, 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. From a cost standpoint, the Town’s starting position was 2%, 3%, 2.5%, and 2% (after rolling in the signing bonus). CUPE’s starting position was 3%, 3.5%, 3.5% and 3.5% (last offer before the strike). The deal agreed to was 2%, 3%, 2.75%, and 2.5%. This is about a ¾% increase in cost from the Town’s starting position. While there will be much debate on the perspective and what it means, the Town and Council are content that the impact is a reasonable and manageable one all considered, while providing the employees with the some of the much-needed relief from the turbulence of the pandemic that they were seeking. A balanced and fair outcome.

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. Cochrane is not unique here as the world tries to figure out how to adapt to the new challenges a once in a generation pandemic creates. Labour action, commercial adjustments, and political unrest will likely be part of the new normal over the next few years as the population at large works through the unavoidable turbulence.

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. Let’s accept the necessity of the circumstances associated to the unavoidable turbulence resulting from transitioning out of the pandemic and embrace the need to firmly close that door, while walking through the door of optimism and opportunity that our community is now well poised to go through, together. Our collective role in this is an important and crucial one.

Our community is poised for some very exciting opportunities ahead and our hope is that we turn the page and start the next chapter, together, respecting the need for us as a community to navigate the challenges of the chapter we are closing, while embracing the opportunities in the chapter yet to be written. While others across the country will be going through similar chapters as we just did, the good news is we can focus on getting back to normal and forging the path forward, together.

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