As President of CUPE local 4848, I have the honor of representing over 850 members of this local. We are the Paramedics and Dispatchers who work for Ambulance New Brunswick. We are the frontline workers who are there in New Brunswicker’s greatest hour of need.
In response to recent events in regards to ambulance response times throughout New Brunswick, we the Paramedics and Dispatchers of Local 4848 now need the public’s help to fix the situation. In the last few weeks, we have reached out to all political party leaders in the province to put forward our solutions to help with this crisis facing New Brunswicker which has dominated the political landscape as of late.
First, we insist that the Arbitration ruling of Professor John McEvoy be immediately implemented without delay. This ruling told Ambulance New Brunswick to look at where the need for bilingual paramedics is not relevant and to loosen its’ language hiring requirements in these areas. This would allow Paramedics, who for some have been unable to obtain permanent employment with benefits, to obtain permanent employment. This will help with recruitment and retention immediately.
Secondly, we ask that Paramedic wages be adjusted immediately to compensate our members for the challenging job that they do day in day out. Many people would not realize that Paramedics working in Ambulance New Brunswick are drastically underpaid for the job that they do. A paramedic base salary in this province is $50,000.00 which is far below other first responders and health care professionals that we work with collaboratively every day. We have asked for an immediate adjustment of 23%, bringing up Paramedic salaries to $62,000.00. This, we feel, would immediately help with recruiting paramedics from other jurisdictions to take up practice here in New Brunswick and encourage people to take up this profession in our schools.
Finally, our last recommendation is to increase the amount of ambulances on the road by 10%. This means 14 more ambulances placed strategically around the province. This would mean ambulances in rural areas could be left in place instead of constantly being pulled in to the urban centers to provide coverage or to complete patient transfers.
We recognize these are challenging times in New Brunswick. However, we feel that by putting these measures in place right away it would help address the issues facing prolonged response times. Therefore, we ask all political parties to commit to implement these measures right away. We ask the public to contact their MLA and ask them to support these measures. People’s lives are depending on it.
CUPE Local 4848
Paramedic and Dispatcher’s Union