Sisters and Brothers,
Another year has come and gone, and we find ourselves in 2019. I hope everyone is doing ok, and all is well with your family. For the many that made New Year’s resolutions, well there’s always next year… and the many that didn’t…. we’ve been there before I’m sure.
The double OT ceased on January 18thand the data we have compiled in relationto this is very interesting. We used some of this information when we met with the Finance Minister on February 12th. We askedthe Minister for an immediate wage adjustment for paramedics and dispatchers as part of the recruitment and retention campaign, and also to reconfirm their commitment to a wage adjustment made to me in ameeting last year with the Health Minister. It was a productive meeting, but no promises were made. We told the Minister specifically how bad it is currently at MCMC. A pay raise will bring nothing but good to the system. It will attract many more people who are thinking about EMS for a career. It will stop dispatchers and paramedics from leaving for jobs paying the same wage with a lot less stress and responsibility. I am asking you to stand behind us, the Union, the Board and your Station VPs once again, to get this done.
The transfer system is finally here. There have been some bumps along the way and I know some weren’t happy on how the process was played out. Overall, we believe this was the fairest for all involved. There are still a lot of “what ifs”, the biggest being “will I do 911 calls if I’m full time on a transfer truck?” It was made quite clear you will be if there are a lot of trucks OOS. In saying that, I believe ANB will do everything possible to make sure this doesn’t happen in order for the transfer system to be successful. Sisters and Brothers, this is a new system and there will be many changes along the way. Please keep this in mind for the future. The call out process will be the same for staffing trucks on OT. Paramedics can work either the 911 or transfer trucks.
The direction from the Minister of Health in his letter to ANB regarding filling postings permanently that are continually posted as temps will be dealt with after the transfer system is put into place on March 7th. The McEvoy decision on our arbitration case is currently in the courts and we are waiting for a ruling. In the meantime, all temporary positions are frozen. Basically, what the letter is saying is that all temporary bilingual postings will be filled permanently by seniority, and in the event a successful qualified applicant applies when the position is posted, the medic in the seat will still hold full time status in an area agreed to by both sides. So much to do on that file before all is finalized.
MCMC is experiencing a staff shortage not unlike the field, but possibly even worse. Dispatchers are continually doubling up on their workload, missing meal breaks, vacation is very limited due to no staff, working conditions are deteriorating in there to the point staff is leaving and looking for a different career. MCMC was left out of the Double Time MOU. The Treasury Board didn’t feel it was necessary to include them at that time. This is not acceptable and it is time that this government realizes what is going on in MCMC. The noise level on the floor can be deafening at times, but the phones still have to be answered and medics have to be dispatched to the calls. The Members of MCMC are going way above and beyond to keep the system running, but I’m afraid this may not last much longer. We are going to launch a public awareness campaign for them and I’m asking that all 4848 members support this. We are all sisters and brothers fighting for better working conditions and better wages. So please, when talking with your dispatcher, try and remember they have OMs on them all the time. They’re going in every direction to try and follow all the policies and best practices in front of them. If you’re not getting a quick response from them, it is probably because they are doubled up and answering a 911 call. Let’s be more mindful of this. Let’s talk to each other in a respectful way. We all have bad days but we must not take this out on each other, MCMC or the Field.
A quick reminder on chute times: management has reported the chute times are increasing drastically. I’m worried if this doesn’t improve, we will see even more roadside posts which we fought hard to do away with, so let’s make sure we get on the road quickly and bring the times back down to where they should be.
The ACPs are doing a great job and seemed to be fitting in well. They have their own issues also, from vacation to scheduling, which will be addressed once the transfer system is put into place. I’m hearing good things on how they are interacting with the PCPs and vice versa. Not much to report on the RRUs at this time.
Thank you all for your dedication to your profession. Without that I’m sure we would be in a place nobody wants to be. The Executive Board, your station VPs and I are always available for you… don’t hesitate to reach out.
Sisters and Brothers,
Here is another update on the activities we have been up to:
Floater Team Position:
Stay Safe and In Solidarity
Many positive changes are currently happening within CUPE 4848. Only with your support has CUPE 4848 been able to lobby and make these changes possible.
The Provincial Government has recently made two major announcements. The first being a dedicated transfer ambulance service and secondly the implementation of the McEvoy Arbitration Ruling.
Each of these announcements are items we have lobbied for and we will now see the fruit of our hard work. I am sure we can all respect that much work needs to be completed on each of these announcements. All parties are working together to make these items happen. Please bear with us as we get the logistics sorted. Once that is completed full details will be released.
Christmas is almost here once again, its a great time of year to spend time with family and friends and also to help those in need. We are very blessed to live in a country such as Canada and enjoy our freedoms, religion and rights given to us by our soldiers who fought and died for us on the battlefields.
We are at a unprecedented time in New Brunswick. The Conservatives are leading a minority government, so its obviously not their way or no way. They will have to work with the other parties if they want to stay in power. I have talked with Premiere Higgs on a few different occasions and will be meeting with him next Wednesday to discuss our current situation.
My main priority is a wage adjustment that we have been asking for, among other issues. There is much to be done. I truly believe if we stay together as a membership and keep our focus on what is really important to us…..we can get it done.
Do we want to be seen as professionals, of course we do, but we have to be careful how we get there, our decisions can have a very negative effect on the membership at large. The outcomes may not be what we expect. Let us not forget we as a Union have fought long and hard to get where we are at today, Medavie and Government would love to see us go to NBU. Our strength and autonomy would be lost. Our voice…. nothing but a memory.
So i ask as your President, lets stay the course and see this thing through as CUPE Local 4848. We will, and can have better wages, and working conditions. Not later, but Now.
Your Executive will be working hard to see this through. We need your support! Let’s send a message to the Higgs Government that we are not going away! We will not stop until we achieve our main goals (wage adjustment and arbitration ruling)!
Premier Higgs made his announcement today on the implementation of a dedicated transfer service as well as working to have the Arbitration Decision’s Judicial Review cancelled within 30 days. He has also stated that his government will be continuing to work through the green and white papers that have been submitted.
First we as a local must commend the Premier on keeping his word. He did state that within one week of taking office he would make changes to the Ambulance Service. He has kept his word on that. The Local would like to go on record to state that the changes that the government has announced will not make a difference to the retention and recruitment that this profession is currently suffering from in New Brunswick.
We will be looking to set up meetings with the Premier, Health Minister as well as with Mr. Kris Austin. We need to work on getting a 23% wage increase to the system and work to come up with other incentives to bring New Brunswick paramedics back to New Brunswick and to attract new people to the profession.
This was a good first step from the Premier, however much more work needs to be done and needs to be done soon. We will continue with our efforts to make positive changes for our profession. This fight is far from over.
We are fully aware of a group of 4848 members who are actively seeing to separate from CUPE. The root of this is movement is wages and nothing more. The group speak of professionalism and positive change, however the only positive change that this group has even remotely expressed is the wage increase that the Cardiology Technicians received.
From what we have been told the wage increase that the Cardiology Technicians received was from an equality assessment. They also received a raise like the rest of the group which was 1% per year for the contract. The same increase every civil servant in NB has negotiated. It was a one-time assessment that awarded them this increase.
This group also speaks to the fact that we voted down our Tentative Agreement three times and yet it still was passed. Something everyone should take a moment and think about. Paramedics and Dispatchers are 100% designated, meaning we do not strike. Other groups in 1252 have other designations. What would the vote have looked like if it was told that paramedics are 60% designated, meaning the bottom 40% on the seniority list will be on strike and receive strike pay of $120 per day for the first week, $60 per day after that and only after manning a picket line. Another option is during the strike all paramedics will be reduced in pay by 25% to help fund the members on strike as well as a mandatory no overtime to be taken during the strike. Do you think the voting numbers might have changed in 4848? I don’t know, I would hope not, but these are some of the things other members in 1252 thought about. This is not fear mongering, this is just reality!
The group also allows people to make comments about other members in 1252 that are ugly and very disrespectful, calling people “unskilled and uneducated”. This is a terrible form of harassment and does not speak anything to a positive change. I would also say that this behaviour is very undignified coming from a professional seeking positive change. Also the 1252 group is made up of people with all types of education and backgrounds. I would like for these individuals to go up to an LPN, Carpenter, Power Engineer, Electrician, Plumber, Refrigeration Mechanic, Respiratory Therapy Assistant, Addiction Services Attendant, etc. and say that they are uneducated and unskilled. That is pure disgust and hatred, Shame to those people, and shame to the administrators and moderators for not dealing with it!
Moving forward, CUPE 4848 will continue to represent the Paramedics and Dispatchers of this province as we have been doing so for the past 11+ years. Working to make positive changes all the time. Change does not happen overnight and it does not happen for everyone at the same time, but it does happen. Stay tuned…. You never know what will happen next……
Four of the Executive Board Members attended the National Sectorial Meetings held in Ottawa earlier this month. The purpose of these meetings is to bring similar groups together to discuss and strategize on situations across the country. Sadly I must report the other groups had the same top three issues.
This was an extremely beneficial meeting and we spoke with other Paramedic Locals across Canada and told them about our Maritime EMS Unions Conference and many of the provinces were amazed. We have since be working on a National EMS Congress. Made up of Paramedic Unions to work collaboratively on the working conditions of Paramedics and Dispatchers. PAC and the EMS Chiefs of Canada meet and discuss issues, it is time that the Unions follow suit and come from a unified front.