Region of Waterloo paramedics, logistics and support workers have given their union a strong strike mandate in their current contract negotiations with the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The paramedic services workers, represented by CUPE 5191, held an online strike mandate vote on Wednesday, where 97 per cent voted in favour of authorizing the union to take strike action if necessary.

Luke McCann, frontline paramedic and President of CUPE 5191 remains optimistic that a deal can be reached at the negotiating table, but believes the results of the vote gives a clear indication that his members are looking for a fair deal.

“Negotiations have not been moving very quickly,” McCann said, “and the region took the step of filing for conciliation, which moves us that much closer to a labour disruption. So, we consulted with our members and they gave us a strong mandate to take strike action if we feel that it’s the only way to get a fair deal.”

By moving into conciliation, negotiations between the two parties will continue with the assistance of a provincially appointed mediator. It also allows either party to request a “no-board” report which kicks off a 17-day countdown to the date where it is legal to initiate a lockout or strike.

CUPE 5191 represents 256 paramedics and logistics support workers for the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. Their previous contract expired on March 31, 2020.