Paramedics in Sault Ste. Marie have voted in favour of a strike by 93 per cent. Local 1359, representing 54 paramedics that work in the EMS division of the fire services, began negotiations with the city in early spring.
The contract expired in March of 2017.
Local 1359 President Laurie Lessard-Brown said that the two sides have reached an impasse in bargaining with a number of key issues still on the table, including stopping contracting out, scheduling changes and break time.
“Paramedics may go in at 6 a.m. and not get a break to even grab a sandwich until 3 p.m. – that isn’t good for anyone. Not for the paramedic and not for the well-being of the patients being transported,” said Lessard-Brown. She also said that members are looking for wage parity with other EMS workers in the region.
“In the meantime, our members continue doing their jobs, saving lives every day.”
The union has filed for conciliation in the hopes that a third party mediator will assist in bringing a fair resolution before a strike or reduction in services is necessary.