VANCOUVER – Striking ambulance paramedics are launching a campaign next week to draw attention to the critical condition of B.C.’s ambulance service and to enlist support from Members of the Legislative Assembly.
CUPE 873 president John Strohmaier says, “Since the government isn’t willing to deal with the steady deterioration of ambulance service in British Columbia – we’re reaching out to individual MLAs. Paramedics hope to meet and talk with them, since the government won’t talk with us.”
Ambulance paramedics want to discuss the current problems they face and the impact on residents in their communities. Members from CUPE 873 plan to contact individual MLAs and will let the public know the results through advertising in local media. The first three MLAs to be contacted are Iain Black (Port Moody/Coquitlam), Bill Bennett (Kootenay-East), and Barry Penner (Chilliwack-Hope).
Strohmaier said these MLAs have been chosen for the start of campaign because problems are particularly acute in their ridings. He hopes this latest attempt to reach a settlement will “get things moving and lead to improved services.”
Individual lobbying efforts by ambulance paramedics will be backed up by ads in community newspapers similar to the ads run in Lower Mainland commuter papers this week.
Ambulance attendants have been on strike since April 1. They want the government to negotiate so that improvements can be made to how ambulance services are delivered. Chronic understaffing and long response times continue to be the biggest issues paramedics want the government to address.
Contact: BJ Chute, Director of Public Education, Ambulance Paramedics of BC: 604.218.6169
Janet Szliske, CUPE National Communications Representative: 604.454.7293