LET­TERS TO ED­I­TOR Paramedics and City must ac­cept bind­ing ar­bi­tra­tion

Seaway News - - Opinion -

Dear Ed­i­tor, The lack of a bind­ing ar­bi­tra­tion agree­ment be­tween the City of Corn­wall and Paramedics has re­sulted in sig­nif­i­cantly de­creased para­medic cov­er­age in Corn­wall and SD&G.

Hav­ing 2-3 am­bu­lances on the road to cover over 3,300KM2, is un­ac­cept­able and dan­ger­ous. It’s not a mat­ter of if pre­ventable tragedies will strike com­mu­nity mem­bers, but rather a ques­tion of when and how many mem­bers?

I fear for in­di­vid­u­als in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, where ac­cess to the “taxis” and “buses” the City of Corn­wall ra­dio ad­ver­tise­ments sug­gest we take to the hospi­tal, won’t be avail­able. Has the City for­got­ten that the paramedics they are re­spon­si­ble to over­see, also ser­vice these ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties?

I fear for in­di­vid­u­als in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties who won’t have ac­cess to life-sav­ing, time­sen­si­tive, med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tions, as they travel 40+ min­utes to the hospi­tal in their per­sonal ve­hi­cles, with pan­icked fam­ily mem­bers, friends, neigh­bors – or worse, them­selves - at the wheel.

I fear for in­di­vid­u­als in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties who do not have ac­cess to a ve­hi­cle at all.

I fear for our chil­dren ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a se­vere al­ler­gic re­ac­tion, our sib­lings in se­ri­ous motor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents, our par­ents and grand­par­ents go­ing into car­diac ar­rest, and the list goes on… In­di­vid­u­als in any of these sce­nar­ios could be sub­jected to life- end­ing wait times for emer­gency care due to sig­nif­i­cantly de­creased lev­els of para­medic cov­er­age.

When em­ploy­ees are union­ized, and a col­lec­tive agree­ment can­not be agreed upon, the union­ized em­ploy­ees strike. This is com­mon knowl­edge. The City of Corn­wall, aware of this re­al­ity, re­fuses to ac­knowl­edge paramedics as es­sen­tial and re­fer ne­go­ti­a­tions to bind­ing ar­bi­tra­tion. Do­ing so would have avoided this strike. Other com­mu­ni­ties have agreed to bind­ing ar­bi­tra­tion – why can’t we?

Al­low­ing paramedics to be treated as nonessen­tial and there­fore, al­low­ing them to strike, is an in­sult to the pro­fes­sion, and threat­ens the well-be­ing of Corn­wall and SD&G res­i­dents.

If you have a loved one that you care about in this re­gion, you should be out­raged.

This let­ter is adapted from an email that was sent to the mayor and coun­cil mem­bers on Mon­day May 28th.the Mayor called me in re­sponse to the orig­i­nal email, and shared that no one else had voiced any con­cerns about the lower level of para­medic cov­er­age. Please, let your Mayor and Coun­cil­lors know that this is un­ac­cept­able by call­ing and email­ing them di­rectly to re­quest bind­ing ar­bi­tra­tion. There is also a petition cir­cu­lat­ing to have paramedics rec­og­nized as an es­sen­tial ser­vice at https:// www.thep­e­ti­tion­site.com/658/994/931/ sup­port-our-paramedics/?taf_ id=56361002&cid=fb_na

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