Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - BC

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - BC

April 09, 2009 18:54 ET

Paramedics' Pressure Brings Response

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - April 9, 2009) - Minister of Health George Abbott has finally responded to calls from striking ambulance paramedics for a return to the bargaining table with a mediator. Ambulance Paramedics of BC president John Strohmaier said Abbot contacted him Thursday morning and suggested a possible meeting with ministry representatives to discuss the situation.

"We have a BC Ambulance Service that is in critical condition and we have ambulance paramedics without a collective agreement," said Strohmaier, adding "it will take both sides working together to resolve these problems, and every second counts."

The paramedics have been calling on Abbott to agree to an independent third-party mediator and binding arbitration, if necessary, in talks with the BC Ambulance Service. Abbott's last suggestion was for a 90-day delay and the appointment of a "fact-finder". The 3,500 CUPE 873 members have been on strike since April 1 to back demands for adequate ambulance staffing levels to ensure better response times, wage parity with other emergency response workers and a multi-year deal for stability.

CUPE BC president Barry O'Neill told Abbott in a letter sent last week that his "suggestions of appointing a fact-finder/facilitator and delaying the process for 90 days would do nothing to settle this. In the interest of maintaining public confidence in this critical emergency service, it is imperative that the parties agree to appoint a mediator/arbitrator now to resolve this dispute."

Contact Information

  • CUPE National Communications Representative
    Murray Bush
    (778) 554-2234
    Ambulance Paramedics of BC
    BJ Chute
    Director of Public Education
    (604) 218-6169