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TORONTO Paramedics in the City of Toronto, members of Toronto Civic Employees Union, Local 416 - CUPE, have won additional pay in recognition of additional lifesaving duties assigned to them almost eight years ago.

Compensation for about 850 paramedics will increase by 2.75%, retroactive to January 1997, under the award announced today by arbitrator Gail Brent. The total increase is estimated to be $9.5 to $10 million.

Our members will be happy that this fight is over and that their additional responsibilities have finally been recognized, said Mark Ferguson, a Level 3 paramedic and chair of the CUPE 416 Outside Division.

It all started with a grievance filed after the city handed additional duties to Level 1 paramedics, chiefly symptom relief duties or responsibility for administering five different lifesaving drugs. Rather than negotiate additional compensation as well, the city maintained that a higher pay rate was not necessary and forced the issue to arbitration. After arbitrator Brent ruled two years ago that a higher rate was merited, the city offered an additional 2%, which the union challenged as unfair and improper. Today, Brent agreed.

The bad news in this award is that taxpayers will be paying much more than they would have if the city had not forced us into needless arbitration, said CUPE 416 President Brian Cochrane. They had the opportunity almost eight years ago to negotiate a settlement but, true to form, chose the path of expensive litigation.

A settlement negotiated in 1997 would likely have cost about $1 million, not up to $10 million needed to meet todays award in addition to legal costs incurred by both sides, he said.


For more information, please contact:
Brian Cochrane, President, T.C.E.U. Local 416 416-968-7721; 416-562-2543 (cell)
Mark Ferguson, Chair, Outside Division 416-968-7721; 416-602-8561 (cell)