CUPE News
Also in this section:

November 2, 2009

   |   Share This Story   

B.C. citizens take back seat to elite

ALERT: Striking Ambulance Paramedics of BC, CUPE 873, will set up a legal picket line this morning (Monday, Nov. 2) outside the Olympic Sliding Centre in Whistler, B.C.ALERT: Striking Ambulance Paramedics of BC, CUPE 873, will set up a legal picket line this morning (Monday, Nov. 2) outside the Olympic Sliding Centre in Whistler, B.C.WHISTLER – B.C.’s 3,500 striking ambulance paramedics say elite Olympics trials are getting priority over emergency services for B.C. residents.

The Ambulance Paramedics of BC, CUPE 873, say many B.C. communities have been left without any ambulances while the BC Ambulance Service has dedicated ambulances and paramedics to the Whistler Sliding Centre for three weeks of practice for visiting Olympic athletes.

The paramedics have set up periodic picket lines outside the Sliding Centre to inform the public. They stress that the government’s first priority should be providing ambulance services for B.C. communities.

“That so many ambulance resources are being provided for these Olympics trials at a time when the public goes without illustrates the provincial government’s skewed priorities for our ambulance system. We have been saying for the last four years that the system is in critical condition,” said CUPE 873 local president John Strohmaier.

CUPE 873 members point out that a B.C. Labour Relations Board order says they must staff Olympics trials, including the current Sliding Centre trials for luge, bobsleigh and skeleton. Strohmaier says the province has been willing to pay expenses and travel time for paramedics at the Olympics trials - something they have not been willing to provide for B.C. paramedics serving the public.

The trials call for two ambulances – the same as the number allotted for the entire Whistler village. The paramedics say that as many as 20 B.C. communities are left with no ambulances on any given day.

“We believe that if the government is serious about providing the best ambulance service possible it should focus on all our citizens, not just elite athletes.” The paramedics have been on strike since April 1 for better response times, wages, equipment and staffing levels.

cope491

Related News

Township of Langley Arenas brought back in-house

Apr 13, 2016

TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY- CUPE 403 is proud to announce that after nearly 20 years two arenas in the Township of Langley will once again be operated in-house. more...

CUPE 15 urges public to stand up for public education

Apr 12, 2016

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver School Board is considering permanent closure of 12 to 13 schools in order to balance their budget. The BC Liberal government more...

Community Social Services: New agreement on portability and retention reached

Apr 08, 2016

Earlier this year, an agreement was reached that could allow union members covered by the Community Social Services (CSS) General Services, Community Living more...

Sooke Wastewater Services to be delivered in-house

Apr 08, 2016

SOOKE – The District of Sooke has voted unanimously to end their contract with for-profit contractor EPCOR and bring wastewater services in-house. Sooke more...

Click here for the archive