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Paramedics in Renfrew County launched a public awareness campaign this week to defend their jobs, after management forced them to reapply for their jobs.

Renfrew County has shown a total lack of respect for local paramedics and the public we serve, says Bob Patrick, paramedic and member of Local 1502 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Every day we fight to save lives in our communities, and now the county is forcing us to fight to save our own jobs its just not right.

Most Ontario municipalities took over land ambulance and paramedic service in 2000. Renfrew County contracted the service to the Pembroke General Hospital.

But the county now plans to take control of the service again in 2005. And management told the paramedics that they had until Aug. 18 to apply to be hired by the new (and former) administration.

We will be performing the same services for the same residents well even be using the same vehicles and ambulance stations, says Patrick. Theres no justification for the county to force us out of a job its a heavy-handed attempt to get rid of our union and divide our workforce. We wont stand for it.