Emergency Room Closures
After the announced reduction in operating hours at six of New Brunswick’s rural hospitals, Local 4848 released a couple of statements. With the overwhelming support of the public and workers in the province, these “health care reforms” are now on hold until further data can be collected and a better plan of action can be put in place. Do not be fooled, the government is still looking at decreasing services to rural New Brunswick.
The proposed reforms will directly affect how our current ambulance service operates. The void these closures could potentially create to our service delivery and membership needs to be addressed prior to any ED closure or reduction in hours and/or services.
With the exception of a few areas, Ambulance New Brunswick’s (ANB) Advanced Care Paramedics (ACP’s) are not being used to their full potential. This level of care is a vital part of pre-hospital care as seen by other jurisdictions in Canada and the world. New Brunswick has approximately 80 licenced ACP’s in the province. ANB could be providing increased medical service to the rural communities if they change the current service model and allow ACP’s to practice at their full scope wherever they are working. This change would also assist and reduce the amount of workload our current practicing ACP’S deal with every day in the urban centers.
Simply by allowing all ACP’s to practice at their scope, New Brunswickers would have better access to emergency medical interventions when required outside of the urban centers.
Primary Care Paramedics (PCP’s) are the foundation of any Emergency Medical Services (EMS) System. ANB utilizes PCP’s to provide exceptional care, practicing at their full scope. PCP’s are fully trained and efficient at dealing with any and all medical emergencies. ACP’s level of care supplements or builds in the care PCP’s are giving in many situations.
Hopefully before moving forward in the future, the government will consult with all stakeholders including our local on changes affecting our profession. To further prepare for the reforms government wishes to produce, CUPE NB will be hosting a Health Care Summit “to build a coalition of community players ready to protect our health care system from attacks and downgrades, whatever form they may take.” This summit is open to the public and is scheduled for March 14 in Moncton.
Norma Robinson, President of CUPE 1252 sent out a newsletter in regards to bargaining. If you have not read the communication yet, I encourage you to do so. You can find that on the CUPE SCFP 4848 Facebook page.
Our employer (the government) has offered a wage package of 0.25% every 6 months. That equals 2% over 4 years! Government will offer up to 1% per year if we give something in return (sick time, retirement allowance, etc.)
Since 1963, CUPE has resisted this form of bargaining which is called “Concession Bargaining”. This is where we give up benefits for wages. In 2004, CUPE began making changes at the National level to fight against this because in the end the workers always lose. I can assure you that all members of the bargaining committee are not entertaining this lack of compensation, and as such the bargaining committee has stepped away from the table and are moving to the next step in the process. CUPE 1252 will be filing for Conciliation.
I understand that some of our local members are not interested in what CUPE 1252 may do but please remember, we are CUPE 1252 – L4848 members until we’re not. These poor wage packages from government are for every public service worker, not just 1252 members, not just CUPE members but for ALL Public Service Workers and we ALL need to push back.
Public Service workers have fallen well behind the annual cost of living increase each year for over 8 years! As for Paramedics and Dispatchers, we know all too well how they have added to our responsibilities without compensating us. It’s time for the government to step up if they truly value the service we all provide.
I encourage you all to stay updated on all upcoming communication and meetings with respect to bargaining and become engaged in all future steps of this process.
Additional unit hours
Ambulance NB has created additional unit hours to Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John. We anticipate that the increase in unit hours will reduce depleting outlying areas for coverage.
This announcement has also created an additional 30 permanent positions for our members.
Labour Board Complaints
At this time, the local has not received any further information in regards to when the hearings on the complaints will be heard at the Labor and Employment Board. Your executive will inform all members when we receive more information in this regard.
Work of the Executive
On February 7th, the Inner Executive (President, Vice President, Recording Secretary and Secretary-treasurer) met with the employer at John Street to discuss current and upcoming developments and issues. The last official meeting with the employer was on November 27th, 2019. Your Executive as always will continue to work on behalf of our Local and that of every member.
The Labour Management Committee is looking at holding their next meeting in late March. We ask for all members to keep forwarding their concerns so the committee can work on them with the employer.
Again, I want to thank you all for your service and willingness to work for our communities. If you have any concerns or issues you need addressed, please reach out to your Regional President or myself.
President, Local 4848