Yorkton/Saskatchewan: Emergency dispatchers employed by Med-Com Comprehensive Dispatch Systems were hopeful they finally would see a fair contract offer from their employer, when bargaining resumed yesterday evening. The dispatchers, members of CUPE Local 4859, voted 100% in support of taking job action at a membership meeting earlier this month.
But last night’s meeting lasted only 10 minutes, as the employer came to the table empty handed.
“I’m shocked by the employer’s attitude,” says CUPE 4859 President Michelle Duerr. “The employer places no value on us or our work. It’s really insulting.”
The starting training wage for dispatchers is only $8.94 an hour. The employer’s wage offer is only 4% over three years, with the possibility of another 4% performance bonus.
The CUPE 4859 members provide emergency fire and ambulance dispatch to communities in the Sunrise Health Region. They also provide emergency dispatch for communities as far away as Humboldt, Lanigan and LaRonge.
The nine emergency dispatchers have been trying to negotiate a first collective agreement with their private sector employer for more than a year.
Wages are the main stumbling block at the bargaining table, as the employer refuses to provide a decent pay increase.
“We’re paid much less than other dispatchers around the province,” says Duerr. Dispatchers at Moose Jaw Centre, for example, earn about 45% more.
Duerr says the Yorkton dispatchers are looking for an offer that starts to close the gap with other dispatchers across the province. “The employer’s offer doesn’t come close,” she adds.
Duerr says her members will look at all options to conclude a fair contract settlement. “We want to secure a first agreement that values and respects our work,” says Duerr. “Hopefully, it won’t require a strike to secure it.”
For more information contact: Michelle Duerr at 641-5449
Or CUPE staff rep Alex Lenko at 536-6434
Note to Editors:
CUPE 4859 members provide EMS dispatch for:
And fire dispatch services for: