ORNGE Paramedics vote in favour of strike action

ORNGE Paramedics have voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action if workers don’t receive an exemption from Bill 124 that caps their salaries to one per cent.

“Enough is enough,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We can’t keep telling people how essential they are, how important they are, and then pass legislation that takes these paramedics and puts them into a separate bucket than all the other paramedics in this province. That doesn’t make any sense.”

The union is calling on the Ontario government to remove the one percent wage cap imposed by Bill 124 and allow workers to negotiate a collective agreement fairly. Land Ambulance services in Ontario have all negotiated collective agreements with higher wage increases. Last month Thunder Bay paramedics ratified their collective agreement which has an 8.5 per cent wage increase over four years.

“ORNGE paramedics have been instrumental in helping transfer critically ill COVID-19 patients to intensive care units across the province,” said Mark Etherington, Unifor 2002 District Chairperson. “This strike vote is an absolute last resort. We need Premier Ford to do the right thing and exempt us from Bill 124.”

Should the province not exempt paramedics from Bill 124. The union will start the process of negotiating an Essential Services Agreement (ESA). An ESA determines what services paramedics provide are essential and are not essential. The union is in the process of securing a date with the Ontario Labour Relations Board to mediate negotiations of an essential services agreement.