We’re working to ease the recruitment and retention crisis facing Peterborough County-City Paramedics, said CUPE 4911 as they hosted a member engagement photo opportunity in front of Peterborough Regional Hospital, displaying a banner signed by over 200 people supporting their efforts.

“Peterborough residents rely on paramedics who can respond rapidly to emergencies, but we’re currently facing a recruitment and retention crisis for skilled paramedics,” said Natalie Waters, president of CUPE 4911. “A lot of times, we don’t have enough part-time staff to support operations, relying on paramedics to work overtime to staff ambulances or in many instances leaving ambulances parked as there isn’t staff to operate them. And instead of making these jobs attractive enough to recruit and retain workers, Peterborough County-City Paramedics is proposing unacceptable wages, concessions when it comes to scheduling for part-timers, and nothing when it comes to mental health supports.”

After negotiations between the union and the County of Peterborough broke down this summer, the union filed for conciliation, with the date set for October 13. The key concern for the union, says Waters, is negotiating a fair contract that will retain workers as well as recruit workers to the area. According to Waters, they play a vital role in the community and want the best for friends and family who call 911.

“The employer has come with little to address the important issues of our members, and certainly we are not being heard at the bargaining table,” said Waters, pointing out why conciliation is needed and why they put together the banner. “The members want to inform the employer, the County of Peterborough, that the wage offer isn’t in line with other settlements that have been reached in recent weeks; that part-timers aren’t getting the benefits and pensions they deserve; and that we are being asked to sacrifice when it comes to schedules; among other things.”

“We are not alone in this struggle, we are very proud of our paramedics and our community, and we’re optimistic a better offer will come out of conciliation this Friday.”