Cornwall ON – An article entitled “Paramedics set for vote on strike mandate” appearing in the February 16th, 2011 edition of the Standard Freeholder dealt with the potential ramifications should local paramedics (members of CUPE 5734) go out on strike. The article speculated about potential reductions in levels of service should a strike action occur.
Levels of ambulance service during a labour dispute are specified in an “Essential Services Agreement” (ESA). Under the Ontario Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act, employers and bargaining agents are required to negotiate the terms of the ESA prior to the commencement of collective bargaining. The Act is designed to provide bargaining units with a meaningful right to strike, and employers with a meaningful right to lock out employees. As the Employer, the City has committed to not lock out paramedics under any circumstances.
Prior to the current round of bargaining, a new ESA was put in place, which was unchanged from the previous document. The ESA governing ambulance services in Cornwall and SD&G specifies that 25% of the current complement of paramedics be required to undertake their duties during the strike. This is the maximum service level allowable under the legislation, in the absence of agreement between both parties to higher levels.
The City of Cornwall remains committed to reaching a negotiated Collective Agreement with its Paramedic employees.