“The members of CUPE 3421 have sent the strongest message possible to the City of Calgary”, said Bruce Robb, President. “There is no doubt that they are not prepared to accept the Citys last offer and have given their Negotiating Committee the support its needs to get a fair contract.”
The Union membership is meeting today and this evening to plan their strategy given the results of the vote. The earliest job action could commence is seventy two hours after formal notice is given to the City.
The Union and the City will be returning to the bargaining table on Tuesday, October 17th.
Bruce Robb, President
Susan Ruffo, National Representative861-6496
Outstanding Issues: wages, shift differentials, meal breaks, In-charge wage rates, seniority, and benefits
Wages: in light of the 13.5% increase CRHA paramedics received this year, we are proposing 5.8% for 2000 and 4% for 2001. The Citys offer is 3 and 3.5%.
Our proposal would keep pace with the CRHA paramedics and is line with the wage increase proposals of Police and Firefighters. Police and Fire have also been unable to reach an agreement with the City.
It is, of course, necessary to have CRHA paramedics on inter hospital transfer ambulances in order to ensure that already stabilized patients remain that way. Calgary paramedics, however, work in uncontrolled environments such as accidents, heart attacks, strokes, shootings, knifings and drug and alcohol overdoses. This uncertainty and the regular use a broader range of medical skills are the reasons why Calgary paramedics have traditionally had a higher hourly wage rate than paramedics involved in inter hospital transfers.
The City argues that annualized wages of CRHA paramedics show that its offer is fair. The problem is that we have to work 42 hours per week compared to 38 hours for CRHA paramedics. Obviously, the extra 208 hours of hourly pay results in higher annual pay. But having to work longer hours doesnt mean we should penalized with lower hourly wage rates.
Shift Differentials: currently our shift differentials are not competitive.
Evenings and Nights:
CRHA paramedics receive a $1.25 an hour premium
Calgary paramedics receive 55 an hour; our proposal is for $1 an hour.
CRHA paramedics receive $1.25 an hour premium
Calgary paramedics have no premium; our proposal is for $1 an hour
Seniority: we have proposing that qualified employees choose assignments by seniority.
Breaks: currently we do not have a right to regularly scheduled meal breaks. Heavy call volumes can mean that we do not get a meal break in a 14 hour shift. We are proposing meal breaks be put in the contract.
In-charge Pay: the duties of crew chiefs are at the same level of responsibility as those of other EMS staff such as Fire Lieutenants. We are proposing the rates reflect these responsibilities.
Benefits: currently we are part of the City and Municipal Employees Association which provides benefits for all city employees. The City has withdrawn from negotiations with the Association and at the same time a few bargaining units have indicated they want to withdraw from the city wide plan. Hence, we want the city to agree to maintain our benefits if the city-wide plan is dissolved. The City has refused.