Bargaining : Ambulance Services

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OPSEU letter to invoke job registry for crown agents
Aug. 5/99

SENT BY FAX

November 29, 1999

To: All Chairs and Councillors of Regional Municipalities
All Wardens and Councillors of Counties

From: Leah Casselman, President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union
Gord Armes, Chair, OPSEU’s Ambulance Bargaining Team

Re: Contract talks with ambulance services and job offers

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has broken off contract talks with 48 ambulance services in Ontario. The employers’ offer did not adequately address our members’ top concerns: job security and a fair wage settlement.

These services operate in 34 Upper-Tier Municipalities (UTMs) - please see the enclosed list. We negotiate for our 1,600 paramedics under the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act (CECBA). It gives our members the right to strike, subject to essential services.

The downloading of ambulance services to the municipalities has brought stress and instability to our members’ lives. Paramedics deserve guarantees that they will continue to have a job in the profession they’ve trained for.

The employers will only guarantee jobs for actively employed full-time paramedics. They will not make job offers to those on Long Term Disability because of an accident or sickness caught on the job. They will not make job offers to part-time paramedics, even though many ambulance services depend on a large complement of part-time employees who often work at more than one service.

The employers proposed a wage increase of 4.3 per cent over three years. This is significantly lower than other recent wage settlements. Toronto ambulance paramedics recently settled for 14 per cent over three years. Next year, paramedics in York and Durham Regions will receive wage increases of 7.8 per cent for Paramedic Level 1s and 13.5 per cent for Paramedic Level 2s.

Our members ask, what makes a heart attack in Toronto worth more than one in Hamilton, Mississauga, London, Cobourg or Belleville? Why is a highway accident in Oshawa more important than one in Guelph, Collingwood, Chatham-Kent, Owen Sound or Bancroft?

Our members need a fair and reasonable contract. We offered to go to binding arbitration, but the employers refused. We prefer that ambulance services not be disrupted in the case of a contract dispute. However, we have no choice but to advise you that we may be forced into the position of taking a strike vote of our members.

We believe that the citizens of Ontario, no matter where they live, deserve a high quality ambulance service. We think the standards of service should be uniform across the province. Wage settlements that widely differ from one municipality to another could make it difficult to retain paramedics and could lower the morale of these workers.

Help us ensure that quality ambulance services staffed by trained professionals are maintained in Ontario. The provincial government has the power to give our members and our communities the assurances we need.

We ask that your council:

  • Immediately pass a resolution, calling for all paramedics currently working in your Upper-Tier Municipality to get job offers from the new providers of ambulance services;
  • Call on the provincial government to guarantee job offers for all paramedics currently working in Ontario;
  • Call on the provincial government to provide the necessary funding to ensure paramedics get a fair and reasonable wage settlement.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Dan Tyo at (519) 649-7770 or Megan Park at 1-800-268-7376 ext. 207 for more information.

Yours truly, 

Leah Casselman  President, OPSEU
Gord Armes, Chair, OPSEU’s Ambulance Central Bargaining Team

LC/mp
Encl.

cc: MPPs
OPSEU Executive Board Members
OPSEU stewards at the 48 ambulance services

Upper-Tier Municipality Ambulance Services
Brant Brant County
Bruce Kincardine, Port Elgin (both bases of Owen Sound Emergency Services)
Chatham-Kent Chatham District, Bothwell (base of Lambton-Middlesex Ambulance Service)
Durham Uxbridge-Stouffville, Beaverton, Port Perry (base of Lindsay & District)
Essex Amherstburg
Frontenac Parham
Grey Owen Sound Emergency Services
Haldimand-Norfolk Green’s
Halton Halton-Mississauga, Halton Hills
Hamilton-Wentworth Fleetwood, Superior, Danver
Hastings Belleville & Madoc bases of City Ambulance Service, Bancroft
Huron Clinton-Seaforth, Dashwood
Lambton North Lambton (base in Thedford), Petrolia & District
Lanark Carleton Place (base of Carleton Place-Richmond)
Leeds-Grenville North Leeds, Ganonoque, Prescott-Kemptville
Lennox-Addington Napanee (base of City Ambulance Service)
Middlesex Thames Valley, Glencoe (base of Lambton-Middlesex), North Middlesex
Niagara Port Colborne, West Lincoln, Book
Nipissing (district) Temagami
Northumberland Lakeshore
Ottawa-Carleton Rockland-Orleans, Richmond (base of Carleton Place-Richmond), St. Lawrence Ambulance Services, Arnprior-Kanata
Oxford Woodstock
Parry Sound (district) South River
Peel Halton-Mississauga, Bolton, Streetsville
Prescott-Russell Rockland (base of Rockland-Orleans), Casselman & Embrun (bases St. Lawrence Ambulance Services)
Prince Edward Picton (base of City Ambulance Service)
Renfrew Arnprior (base of Arnprior-Kanata)
Simcoe Bradford, Wasaga Beach, Collingwood
Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Winchester, Finch & Morrisburg (part of St. Lawrence Ambulance Services)
Sudbury (district) Noelville
Wellington Mount Forest, Royal City in Fergus and Guelph
Victoria Lindsay & District, Fenelon Falls (base of Beaverton)
York Nobleton, Uxbridge-Stouffville, Sutton-Queensville, Keswick (base of Beaverton)

 

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