Grassroots Initiative – Collective Bargaining Act
We are aware of, and support the grassroots initiative coming from Paramedics province-wide who are lobbying the public to have the BC public sector Paramedics included into the Fire and Police Services Collective Bargaining Act.
While this is not an Ambulance Paramedics of BC CUPE Local 873 movement, we’re not surprised our members are using every mechanism available to them to get access to meaningful collective bargaining.
This truly is a grass roots movement by Paramedics throughout BC. The Recall and Initiative Act is only available to private citizens, not organizations or Unions like ourselves. Notwithstanding, the Ambulance Paramedics of BC have sought inclusion to the fire and police bargaining unit in the past through various campaigns, lobbying and venues.
Our current bargaining process is flawed and we believe it’s having a negative impact on the patients, the public and our Paramedics and Dispatchers.
In the last six years since government transferred us under the Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA), very few of our issues have been dealt with as a result of being lumped in with 40,000 other healthcare workers.
From 1974 to 2010, Paramedics had a separate bargaining unit and while we bargained for wages and benefits we have also traditionally bargained for levels of ambulance service in communities, as well as patient care issues.
We believe that in the last six years since over 4,000 Paramedics have been included into a group of 40,000 non-paramedics, we have all seen a steady decline in the government’s ability to manage the ambulance service, as we have seen with delayed response times and they have not been keeping up with patient demand. This is all a result of not being able to have meaningful discussions at the bargaining table.
I think this initiative is quite timely, since we have just received proposals from government two years after our Collective Agreement was ratified and we have some significant concerns. Their proposals, which include a number of concessions, come more than two years after bargaining concluded. This is because they weren’t properly tabled during our dysfunctional negotiations process. This is another example that Paramedics and our patients are now an afterthought in the current bargaining structure.
Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC
CUPE Local 873
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