Essex-Windsor EMS vote in favour of strike
The union representing Essex-Windsor EMS says paramedics have voted 100 per cent in favour of strike action.
CUPE Local 2974 tells AM800 News that amid contract negotiations on Monday, paramedics have voted in favour of a strike due to numerous issues including staffing shortages and strain on the health-care system.
The union says paramedics are not legislated as "essential workers" and are governed by a different legislation, therefore if a strike occurs there would still be EMS services available to the public but could possibly see a reduction in services.
CUPE Local 2974 president James Jovanovic says paramedics are understaffed and strained every day.
"We are reaching a point where we're no longer able to compete with other services in the province for a very limited amount of paramedics entering into the profession,” says Jovanovic. “So, because of that we're seeing significant understaffing, which coupled with the strain that we're experiencing day-to-day, this is just exacerbating those mental health trauma issues that we're having."
Jovanovic says the union is in active negotiations and is trying everything they can to reach a fair deal.
Essex Windsor-EMS Chief Bruce Krauter issued a statement to CTV News.
“Essex-Windsor EMS and the County of Essex are currently bargaining with CUPE representatives and will have no comment on those discussions as they are ongoing. We are committed to the bargaining process and to negotiating a fair contract,” Krauter said. “All ambulance services in Ontario are governed by the Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act, which ensures no community will be left without ambulance coverage due to a labour disruption.”
— With files from CTV News Windsor's Travis Fortnum
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