Paramedics are asking the Alberta government to let them keep their place at the bargaining table when the province takes over ambulance services in April.
They fear they will be lumped into another government union with medical services like massage technicians, psychologists and lab technicians.
“It’s everything to us. We may lose the right to speak and address our concerns,” said Tim Ford, vice president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3421. “We want paramedics addressing the concerns of paramedics, not nurses addressing the concerns of paramedics nor EMT addressing the concerns of paramedics.”
CUPE, which represents the majority of unionized paramedics in the province, released a discussion paper on the transition of EMS services into Alberta Health Services. The paper has been sent to Premier Ed Stelmach, and pleads for a bargaining unit comprised only of EMS.
“The issue isn’t the union or money,” said Rick Fraser, president of CUPE Local 3421. “We just want the best possible outcomes for the practitioner and the patients. A number of years ago, Alberta was considered the Mecca of EMS. We don’t want to see a diminishment of that. Paramedics are very concerned about their future in this province.”