LEEDS & GRENVILLE, Ont. – The paramedics of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, represented by Local 4440 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), have been notified that their employer will be in a legal lockout position as of June 2. For their part, the paramedics have not yet taken a strike vote, as they were expecting, and still hope, to resolve all remaining differences at the bargaining table. The union is willing to send the dispute to arbitration in order to avoid any service interruption but the Counties have refused that offer.
“This has been a very difficult round of bargaining. In previous rounds of bargaining and in day to day operations, we have always been able to overcome our differences,” said Dave Hone, Local 4440 President. “Like paramedics across the province, we provide quality emergency services, and therefore we cannot agree with management’s proposal that UCLG paramedics starting in 2008 will make less than what paramedics in Rainy River, Durham and Essex were making in 2004”, he added.
Since 2003, wages for Leeds Grenville paramedics have fallen below the Eastern Ontario average and well below the Ontario average.
The union had agreed to start mediation on May 23, but the employer has postponed that first mediation session to June 2, the very day when the lockout could begin. Negotiations have been going on for 18 months with no sign of flexibility on the part of the employer. In the hopes of preventing a lockout, which would reduce ambulance services in Leeds Grenville, the union has sent a letter to the members of the County Council asking them to get involved.
For further information, please contact:
Kristy Davidson, CUPE National Representative
Office: 613-542-2069 ext. 3
Benoit Renaud, CUPE Communications Representative