(PARRY SOUND) – Brian Downing, President of OPSEU Local 342 representing emergency medical services (EMS) workers, will make a deputation before the Town of Parry Sound Council on December 1 at 7 p.m. At issue is a request for proposals (RFP) that the town will issue for emergency medical services (EMS).
EMS workers with Local 342 are concerned that their collective agreement with West Parry Sound Health Centre will not be grandfathered by the winning bidder. Only the hospital would be bound to respect the current collective agreement. Another winning bidder could seek to impose inferior terms and conditions on EMS workers’ rights and benefits, including their pension.
Downing points out that including the collective agreement in the RFP is just sound public policy. “It’s good for the service, good for staff and good for the community that pays for it. Councillors have stated they are seeking accountability and value for money, and that is precisely what EMS workers already offer and provide.
“We’ve witnessed the devastating impacts on workers, patients and the community when public services are awarded to private concerns that don’t respect their staff. Including a successor rights provision in the RFP will ensure that both the employer and workers continue to enjoy the stability and consistency of service that come with a collective agreement.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is fully supportive of Local 342’s bid to include successor rights in the RFP. “EMS workers play a key role in the community. If you want to keep the most highly skilled, most experienced staff, then you have to ensure the terms and working conditions of their collective agreement are respected – whoever is awarded the RFP.
“I urge the members of Parry Sound Council to include successor rights in the RFP so that Parry Sound continues to benefit from outstanding emergency medical services. When every second counts, there’s no place for second-best.”
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