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WHITBY, Ont. – Durham Region’s 1500 ‘inside’ municipal workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are on strike after bargaining talks with the employer broke down last night, when a fair settlement could not be reached as Durham Region continued to push for concessions targeting the Region’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers. The striking workers will be picketing today at Durham Regional Headquarters, 605 Rossland Road East, Whitby.
“We’ve been forced to go on strike because management would not back off from their concession demands on a group of workers who save lives in our community,” said Pauline Hopley, president of CUPE 1764. “The Region seems intent on punishing paramedics, but, unfortunately, the other workers and the residents of our community will suffer because of management’s focussed attacks on the paramedics.”
Management and council are targeting the EMS workers’ sick leave plan. EMS workers, because of the nature of their work, are exposed to all kinds of health situations that put them at a higher risk of getting injured or falling sick. “We don’t think it is fair to punish EMS workers for getting sick. Nobody gets sick on purpose, least of all professionals whose job is to help save people’s lives,” said Hopley.
“We offered many different options including sending the dispute to interest arbitration so an independent third party could help settle the dispute and Durham residents would not be affected by an unnecessary service shutdown, but management refused,” continued Hopley. “So, now, we are in a labour dispute that could have easily been avoided. We are urging management to stop targeting paramedics and return to the bargaining table and work toward a deal that would end this unnecessary strike.”
For further information, please contact:
Pauline Hopley, President of CUPE 1764, 905-441-3116
Michelle Miller, CUPE National Representative, 905-433-4760
James Chai, CUPE Communications, 416-458-3983