Richmond Hill, Ont. (October 12, 2018) – Close to 150 paramedics employed by County of Lambton Emergency Medical Services will be working under their Essential Service Agreement starting at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, October 13. This comes after months of stalled negotiations with their employer.
The County of Lambton EMS paramedics cover Brigden, Corunna, Forest, Grand Bend, Petrolia, Sarnia, Brights Grove, Thedford, and Watford. One of the key issues remaining in dispute is providing paramedics who take an early retirement the benefits they need until age 65.
“Healthcare workers dedicate their lives to taking care of others, but we have to make sure they are taken care of as well,” said SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart. “Many paramedics take an early retirement because of the stress their job creates on both their bodies and minds. To deny these passionate workers the benefits they require after many years of community service is not acceptable.”
While working under the Essential Services Agreement, County of Lambton paramedics will not be responding to non-emergency calls, including patient transfers from a hospital to their homes, non-urgent transfers between hospitals and scheduled specialist appointments.
A large number of County of Lambton EMS paramedics attended their local council meeting on October 3rd to show solidarity in negotiations and to ask their employer to come back to the bargaining table. A new bargaining date has now been scheduled for November 15, 2018.
“Our statistics show that there has been a significant increase in illness and injury rates to the paramedic population,” said SEIU Healthcare’s bargaining team chair Chris Stolte. “After a 30-year career, many paramedics are left with lifelong health issues. Our bargaining team has made both improving our benefits and the bridging of benefits a priority in these negotiations, because we need to make sure the health and safety of every paramedic is taken care of. We just want what other bargaining units within the County of Lambton and our management already have.”
SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union’s members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. SEIU Healthcare has a strong track record of improving wages, benefits and working conditions for healthcare workers, supporting the training and development needs of its members, and strengthening standards in the management and delivery of patient and client care. www.seiuhealthcare.ca
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