Leeds Grenville ambulance services in jeopardy as lockout looms

    BROCKVILLE, ON, May 30 /CNW Telbec/ - 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:

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

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