Members of CUPE Local 4226, EMTs employed by the Southern Victoria Ambulance Service in Perth-Andover, NB, are back on the job after a strike that lasted almost a year.
“Our members are relieved to be back at work,” said CUPE representative Gordon Black. “They are all trained as EMTs. Of course they are happier saving lives than on the picket line.”
The last issue to be settled was that of accommodations for on-call workers. The employees usually work four days in a row, alternating between 12 hours on the job and 12 hours on-call. When on call, EMTs must be able to reach the ambulance shed within 10 minutes. Staff – who are all from out of town – had been paying for accommodation out of their own pockets.
“This was a make-or-break issue for our members,” said Black. “When hours are long and wages are low, it becomes critical that the employer provide a place for EMTs to rest between calls. The new rooms by the ambulance bay will help them cope with the demands that come with providing emergency care.”
The new agreement also includes a wage increase and a 3 per cent RRSP contribution from the employer.