Mar 31, 2014

Ambulance paramedics prepare for strike vote

BURNABY - CUPE 873 members are seeking a strike mandate as part of the multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association. The CUPE bargaining team is calling for a strong strike vote to pressure the employer back to the table for a new contract. 

Negotiations for a five-year deal with the Health Employers Association of BC stalled after more than three months of talks. Outstanding issues include employer demands to increase the contracting out of union work and their refusal to extend employment security provisions.

“Health employers’ demands for more contracting out will cause uncertainty and instability in our hospitals, care facilities and in the community,” says Bonnie Pearson, the FBA’s chief negotiator and secretary-business manager of the Hospital Employees’ Union.

For CUPE 873 members there are several outstanding issues, including hours of work and employer attempts to take job classifications out of the bargaining unit.  Despite pledges from the provincial government, the employers have so far also refused to provide a more substantial community role for BC’s paramedics.

Strike votes by all the members of the FBA will be taken over the next four weeks.  The 11-union FBA represents 47,000 health-sector workers, of which about 6,500 are CUPE 873 ambulance paramedics. The association represents workers in a wide range of health care jobs in hospitals, care facilities, emergency health services, logistics and supply warehouses, and other shared services.


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