PRESCOTT-RUSSELL, Ont. – The union representing 160 paramedics, social services, housing and clerical staff in the united counties of Prescott and Russell, is warning residents that management is setting the stage for a lockout that would disrupt essential services like ambulance, social assistance and housing.
“Essentially management is trying to corner us,” said Bob Manny, national representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “They’re offering paramedics only one per cent – that doesn’t even keep up with inflation.”
The workers voted 85 per cent in favour of taking strike action, if a reasonable settlement cannot be reached. The two sides had agreed to meet again in conciliation talks on October 11th and 12th, but management unilaterally cancelled those dates. The workers will be in a legal lockout or strike position on November 9, 2006.
“Residents should ask themselves why the counties are trying to force a disruption on our communities, right before a municipal election,” said Manny. “The province recently increased its share of emergency services funding to 50 per cent, from a low of 34 per cent, so a reasonable wage increase will not overburden local taxpayers.”
CUPE is urging residents to contact their elected council members, to tell them to offer a fair contract to paramedics and other county workers and prevent a service disruption. A lockout or strike would disrupt ambulance, social services and housing in Hawkesbury, Embrun, Rockland, Alfred, Casselman, Vankleek Hill, Plantagenet, and surrounding areas in Prescott and Russell counties.
“We urge residents to remind council members they are elected to protect our public services, not undermine them,” said Manny.
For further information, please contact:
CUPE National Representative