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(Port aux Basque) - In an incident earlier this week in Port aux Basque, protesting private ambulance operators interfered with an ambulance from the Western Healthcare Corporation. The ambulance was transporting a patient and family members to the hospital in Port aux Basque. The operators first stopped the ambulance progress then rocked it as it passed by the protesters.

The President of Local 488, Donna Ryan says this kind of behavior is uncalled for. The paramedics are following the directions of their employers. We are not picking a fight with these people, we are trying to do our jobs. Ryan is concerned that patients and their families would be treated in this fashion.

When we were on strike, we let these private ambulances across our picket lines without a problem. I dont want our members to have to face this kind of harassment again. Make your point to the government but leave our members and people in need of health care alone, said Ryan.

We hope the government comes back to the table and negotiates a fair deal with the private ambulance owners. In fact, we think its time the Government looked at taking over ambulance services, bringing it into the public service where it belongs.

CUPE Local 488 represents 986 health care workers employed by the Western Healthcare Corporation including approximately 20 paramedics.

For information:
Donna Ryan, President, CUPE Local 488 902-455-4180 (o)

Robert Chisholm, CUPE Research Representative 709-639-8947 (o)