VANCOUVER—CUPE 873 members took a strong message to the streets and into MLA offices throughout the province this week. The action was prompted by serious and growing concern about the quality and quantity of services that paramedics are able to deliver.
As part of the province-wide action, hundreds of CUPE 873 members rallied at the provincial cabinet offices in downtown Vancouver to demand the B.C. government take action to improve the province’s ambulance service.
Speaking at an October 7 rally CUPE BC secretary-treasurer Mark Hancock said that it is shameful that such critical services are being underfunded. “You do some of the most difficult jobs – made more difficult by the lack of needed resources,” said Hancock.
Carrying signs that read “An Atco trailer is not an ambulance station” and “Help Us Help You” paramedics made their voices heard.
“We don’t need to exaggerate or embellish the problems with the ambulance service. They are all there to be seen by anyone who cares,” says CUPE 873 president John Strohmaier.
In a letter delivered to MLAs across B.C., CUPE 873 says that demand for ambulance services has risen by an astonishing 25 per cent in the past four years alone. The union urges elected officials to take action and require the BC Ambulance Service and the Emergency and Health Services Commission to make desperately needed improvements in services for patients, including: faster responses, better treatments and more ambulances and equipment.