In recent weeks, Unifor Local 1359 has engaged in practices which concern the City of Sault Ste. Marie in what appears to be a tactic to pressure the City into a settlement. This behavior is not normative in the EMS sector and their obligation to comply with all provisions and regulations as per the Ambulance Act, the Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act and the Ontario Labour Relations Act as the parties proceed through the process of bargaining.
The union has presented information to the public that is incomplete, without context and in many cases inaccurate. The City believes that the best way to a settlement is to discuss and resolve our differences only at the bargaining table. While the City will continue to approach collective bargaining in this manner, we feel it is necessary to clarify the following matters:
- Emergency Medical Services work action is governed by the Ambulance Act which requires an Essential Services Agreement (ESA) to be in place by the parties prior to any work action. The ESA is a written agreement between the Union and the employer that certain work conditions / rules are essential to the safety and security of the public and must continue to be maintained during work action.
- Although there could be reduced services as a result of the potential work action, critical and emergency calls will continue to be addressed and responded to. The City is reminding residents that the health and safety of the community is paramount and ambulance service will continue during a potential work action per the ESA.
- The City of Sault Ste. Marie values the important work paramedics do and will continue to negotiate an agreement in a responsible manner within a Council mandate that is fair to our employees and affordable for the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie.
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