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March 10, 2010

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Paramedics agree on contract roll-over

RICHMOND – In an effort to conclude stymied contract talks, the Ambulance Paramedics of BC have agreed to roll over their collective agreement until April 1, 2012.

CUPE 873 president John Strohmaier says the move to extend the current collective agreement “would at least give paramedics and emergency dispatchers some much needed stability while allowing both the union and the employer to use existing mechanisms to resolve the day-to-day operational needs. In the interest of maintaining and improving ambulance services in B.C., he added, “stability in the workplace is essential.”

“The current collective agreement (which expires April 1) has the built-in flexibility the government has been looking for throughout our year-long dispute. In the absence of any real progress at negotiations and given the current labour climate, CUPE 873 believes that rolling over the collective agreement and working within the existing collaborative framework is the best available option.”

B.C.’s 3,500 Ambulance Paramedics and the Crown-owned BC Ambulance Service have been at the bargaining table on and off for more than a year and a half. The union executive’s position on a roll-over comes after what 873 negotiators describe as the government`s stance with other bargaining sectors and their own experience at the table of “hurry up and wait - with no movement on the major issues that could lead to an actual contract.”

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