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Members win with new paramedical contract

The Report: February / March 1999 vol.19 num.6

by RICK LAMPSHIRE

Congratulations to all of you! We can be proud of ourselves. Ninemonths of negotiations and over ten days of mediation have resulted in a collectiveagreement acceptable to 94 per cent of our paramedical professional membership. The 0-0-2wage mandate was pre-determined by the time we arrived at mediation. But we fought hard onthe other issues and won, making significant gains. We won through strong, visionaryleadership, a solid negotiating committee, a strong and active membership, and hardworking, committed staff. And we did it on our own.

  • No employer concessions to our classifications system.
  • Language improvements in hours of work, assignment of casual work and on-call opportunities.
  • Breakthough in the portability of seniority and promotional opportunities outside of individual facilities.
  • New money for on-call, Long Term Disability and improvements in the Extended Health Care coverage.
  • Full and complete application of all the provisions of our agreement by April 1, 1999 for our community members.

We told the employer we didnt want to take a strike vote. Webelieved we could negotiate a fair agreement without one. The employer refused, and yougave us a 78 per cent strike vote. We told the employer we didnt want to go onstrike. We wanted to negotiate a fair agreement through the mediation process. Theemployer refused, and you gave us the strike and the confidence to get to where we neededto go. As your negotiator, I want to thank you for your strong support.

Negotiations are not so much about good arguments as they are aboutpower. Part of the power we have at the bargaining table is you and your willingness tostand up for what you believe is fair and right. The other part is strong union leaderswho are in tune with the membership and are willing to step in front of the crowd and intothe glaring lights of public opinion. You did just that when you went on strike.

Your negotiating team was there through the whole process. Theyrepresented your interest impeccably, never straying from your critical issues. They wereprofessional and passionate when confronting the employer on your behalf. When it was timeto step up the pressure they moved there without hesitation. The same is true of yourpresident. Cindy became directly involved in the bargaining process at the eleventh hourand pushed the contract in our favour. No one spoke more passionately or convincingly onyour behalf as she did. The proof came with a 94 per cent acceptance of the Foley Report.

We can and should be proud of ourselves.

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