London Middlesex Paramedics call for EMS upgrades - not more managers

LONDON-MIDDLESEX, ON, Sept. 25, 2014 /CNW/ - Paramedics in London and Middlesex County are asking why there is no money to upgrade emergency medical services when over a million dollars is being spent on new managers.

More than 200 paramedics have been in negotiations with their employer for three years, and are still nowhere near agreement on a new contract.

"When you see an organization suddenly get so top heavy you know there's a problem. It's time for Middlesex London EMS to show some respect for the important work that paramedics do in their community," said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

Over the past three years, four new positions have been created at London-Middlesex EMS for superintendents who earn as much as $150,000 a year and drive around in SUVs paid for by tax-payers. Job postings indicate plans to hire another two superintendents, and there are several additional administrative staff. Together, these new positions carry a price tag of over a million dollars per year.

"Paramedics are done with watching more and more managers getting hired when that money should be going to front-line services.  We should be investing in more paramedics, more ambulances, and 24 hour full-service so that residents receive quality emergency medical services as fast as possible," said Scott Simpson, President of OPSEU Local 147.

"Residents of Middlesex County deserve to know that it takes longer, and will continue to take longer, for emergency services to reach them after 7pm. This is because the organization is not willing to pay for staff to be on site for the night shift. That bad decision is putting lives at risk," said Simpson.

"Paramedics are skipping breaks and skipping lunch while working 12 hour shifts. We are doing everything we can to ensure residents receive quality EMS services, but when there is only a skeleton staff, being a paramedic goes from a stressful job to a dangerous job."

SOURCE: Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: Scott Simpson, Local President, OPSEU Local 147: 519-808-3588, scott.medic147@gmail.com; Emily Visser, OPSEU Communications: 416-557-7936, evisser@opseu.org

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http://www.opseu.org

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