Canadian rock musician Tom Cochrane cancels Prince Albert show amidst local CUPE strike

todayNovember 22, 2023 2

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In support of an ongoing strike by local CUPE members, Tom Cochrane’s show in Prince Albert will not go on.

The Canadian Music Hall of Fame member announced the cancellation of his sold-out Friday show at the EA Rawlinson Centre for the Arts in the Saskatchewan city, and his support for the public service workers’ union strike, in a Facebook post Wednesday.

“We have continuously worked with the folks at the EA Rawlinson Theatre hoping for a resolution but currently find ourselves at an impasse,” he wrote.

“Being union members, we cannot in good faith cross the picket line to the venue.”

The strike by Local 882 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees — whose members include workers at the city-operated EA Rawlinson Centre, among other public city employees, according to the union’s website — has been going on for nearly three months.

CUPE Local 882 represents approximately 90 permanent and 60 to 70 non-permanent staff, its website says. 

According to the City of Prince Albert, there are “no signs that a resolution will be reached soon.”

In a Wednesday news release, the city’s director of corporate service, Kiley Bear, said while she respects Cochrane’s decision, she found it “deeply disappointing.”

Bear blamed the local union executive, accusing them of being greedy despite the city’s offer “to raise [EA Rawlinson Centre employee] annual earnings even further.”

In a Facebook post, CUPE Local 882 thanked Cochrane and his crew “for their support and solidarity.”

In a statement emailed to CBC on Wednesday afternoon, CUPE Local 882 vice-president Cara Stelmaschuk said the union recognizes many will be disappointed by the show’s cancellation.

But she said the union hopes “it is a wake-up call for the city,” and said other artists have refused to cross the picket line.

The strike is “having an impact on the services residents depend on,” she said, and the union hopes “that the city is ready to bargain a fair deal.”

People who bought tickets to the show will receive a refund in the next few days, according to the city. 

The Life Is a Highway singer said he will find a future date for his performance and looks “forward to being back in Prince Albert soon.”

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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