EDMONTON – Over 300 paramedics, health care workers and their supporters rallied in front of the Alberta Legislature today to protest action by the Conservative government which would force them into a different union and would gut the pension plan of paramedics.
Paramedics have a supplemental pension plan which allows them to retire early, similar to plans of other emergency personnel like firefighters and police. CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz said they have been told that paramedics ‘are no longer emergency personnel, they are health care workers.’
“In this province, if 100% of employees sign a card to join a union, there has to be a vote,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist. “But if you have belonged to a union for decades, and have recently voted to stay with them, your voice is still not heard.”
“I’ve met with Premiers from every province in Canada except Alberta,” said Moist. “But while Ed Stelmach refuses to sit down and meet, his government is making decisions that take democratic rights away from our members.”
Lanovaz said the moves by the Conservatives will be settled in the courts, and he expects CUPE to win.
“Recent decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada have told governments they can’t treat people this way,” said Lanovaz. “We’re now going to have to go to court to make them follow the law.”