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May 25, 2012
Sisters and Brothers:
Emergency Medical Workers are a vital part of every community across our province. As CUPE Ontario officers, we want to thank EMS workers for the lives they save every day, too often without the thanks they deserve.
May 20-26 is National Emergency Medical Services Week in Canada and the United States, an annual event to raise public awareness about EMS and to acknowledge the significance of EMS workers within our communities.
Paramedics, communications officers and supply technicians are part of a team dedicated to providing quality patient care, and CUPE Ontario is proud to represent more EMS workers than any other union in the province.
EMS workers are highly skilled emergency medical staff whose work is overseen by three distinct governing bodies, making it the most regulated emergency care sector. They are expected to respond to calls in a timely fashion, but municipalities are only keeping within prescribed limits by overworking vehicles, preventing workers from taking meal breaks and forcing them into overtime beyond their 12-hour shifts on a regular basis.
The result of these stresses on the system are increased at-work injury and long-term disability rates. Post-traumatic stress disorder is commonplace because of the long, dangerous hours and the daily exposure to death, harassment and families in distress.
It is high time that EMS workers got the respect they deserve.
We encourage our members in all sectors to contact their municipal representatives and let them know that their communities need better funding and better working conditions for these critical emergency service workers.
Fred Hahn Candace Rennick