Member Update – Earth Day 2022
April 22, 2022
Re: Supporting a Worker’s Right to Operate a Clean Energy Vehicle (RTOCEV)
This Earth Day, the Ambulance Paramedics of BC would like to offer a message of hope to the general public and call on workers and labour organizations across the country and around the world to join us in a movement to increase the deployment of clean energy vehicles (CEVs) in private and public sector fleets that will ultimately reduce carbon emissions.
At our Fall Convention in late 2021, the APBC’s Environment and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) were pivotal in passing a resolution that supports a worker’s Right To Operate a Clean Energy Vehicle (RTOCEV). This concept can be framed in many ways.
One, all workers currently have the right to work in an environment free of secondhand smoke, yet exposure to toxic emissions and fuel as a consequence from operating a petroleum-powered vehicle at work is still commonplace. This is despite appropriate CEVs being available, and these CEVs often being a more cost-effective solution than the fossil fuel-powered vehicles currently in use.
Second, we know emissions from our traditional vehicles are intensifying the climate crisis, which will have devastating effects on the earth. Workers have the right to protect themselves, their children, and future generations when alternatives to fossil fuel-powered vehicles exist now.
This Earth Day, we would like to focus on declaring a Right To Operate a Clean Energy Vehicle as a way for workers to strongly emphasize that they want to operate a clean energy vehicle where they work, that they want to make these solutions successful in their workplaces, and that they are willing to make changes in their work practices to do so. We hope that employers will support a worker’s RTOCEV, as it is in all of our interests to reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions.
Since Earth Day 2021, the devastating effects of the climate crisis have become even more apparent in British Columbia. The summer’s heat dome and the fall’s flooding and landslides had devastating and catastrophic impacts on our province and has been cause for the APBC to recognize the need for further bold action on the climate file. Recognizing a worker’s RTOCEV is our bold action. It is time for workers to stop asking their Employers “if” CEVs can work in our field and instead start requesting that we “do” make them work.
CEVs offer many practical improvements, such as the ability for the cabin to cool and heat more quickly, eliminating exposure to toxic tailpipe emissions, and decreasing operator fatigue due to less vibration and noise. Workers will, at least in the short term, need to adjust their work practices to accommodate for the shorter range and smaller size of CEVs. A worker who is not only willing to make these adjustments but is stating they feel it is their right, should be viewed as an excellent asset for fleet operators who are looking to electrify their fleet. This is an asset that should not be underestimated.
The Ambulance Paramedics of BC is currently seeking to partner with other workers, labour organizations, and Employers who support a Right To Operate a Clean Energy Vehicle. Interested parties can contact us at email@example.com for more information.
David Hollingworth, Chair
Environment and Climate Change Committee
Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC
CUPE Local 873
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