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BROCKVILLE, Ont. – Ambulance services in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville could be cut in half, as early as next Thursday, if a deal is not reached between the county and paramedics on Monday, warns the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing emergency service workers in Leeds and Grenville.

“Locking out their own emergency staff will not resolve the outstanding bargaining issues, nor will it help the public who rely on us to provide emergency services,” said Dave Hone, CUPE 4440 president. “Jeopardizing ambulance services is not the only option available to the employer. Instead, they should come to mediation with a fair offer or send the outstanding issues to arbitration, an offer CUPE has made to management repeatedly, but they insist on pushing us into a lockout situation.”

The employer triggered the lockout or strike deadline for Monday June 2, by calling for a ‘no board’ report from the ministry of Labour earlier this month.  Mediation is also scheduled on the same day. If mediation talks fail, the employer can legally lock out the workers with 72 hours’ notice, and the paramedics will be in a legal strike position.

“We want the public to know that we are committed to achieving a deal through bargaining or arbitration,” said Hone. “A lockout or strike will hurt the very services we provide to our community, and we know the value and importance of our services. That’s why we’re urging the county to ensure continued public safety remains their number one priority as we enter mediation talks.”

If the EMS paramedics are locked out by the employer, ambulance services in Leeds and Grenville area could be cut in half. “Providing the full level of ambulance and emergency services with half the resources available to us is impossible and unacceptable,” said Hone. “The employer must show leadership and find a way out of the lockout situation they put themselves in, jeopardizing emergency services and public safety. We are urging residents to contact council and management and tell them to offer a fair deal to paramedics or go to arbitration to avoid jeopardizing ambulance services.”
For further information, please contact:

Kristy Davidson, CUPE National Representative: 613-542-2069 ext. 3, 416-833-1798 (cell)
James Chai, CUPE Communications: 416-292-3999