Media Release: Seniority and Security are needed for Stable Emergency Care Services

For Immediate Release:

March 1, 2012

Moose Jaw – Members of SEIU-West employed at Moose Jaw & District EMS have served their employer with Strike Notice. The members in this workplace have been without a collective agreement since April 1, 2009. The main issue in dispute is the use of seniority to obtain additional hours of work. In response to the Strike Notice and to back their demands, the Employer has served the Union with notice of their intent to lock out the employees as of 9:00 am Saturday, March 3rd.

“Our members have made it clear that they want the security of a viable job within their home community”, says Neil Diacon, Unit Chair. “We are dedicated experienced professionals who are committed to providing the best service possible to the citizens of Moose Jaw and its surrounding areas.”

The Employer has stated they want to run their operation through the use of casual employees who will not have any guarantee of work but strictly be on call leaving the Employer the sole ability to determine who will work when and at the lowest possible rate of pay.

“Relying on solely casual workers would be a risky move,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “Ambulatory services are extremely important in this province. The citizens should be able to rely on the fact that when they call 911, there will be someone there who will come and help them in their time of need. Refusing to allow for the seniority principle within the collective agreement enables the Employer to hold employees off work for periods of time to ensure they are not able to advance through the negotiated pay scales, and doesn’t help to keep a permanent pool of qualified professionals at their disposal.

“These working people want the security of knowing their jobs and their lives are protected by a true seniority based hours of work system, the same as in virtually every other healthcare workplace in this province,” continued Cape.

The Union has told the Employer that they are prepared to return to the table and negotiate a fair and just resolution to the issue. The Employer has refused to negotiate further or to set additional meeting dates at this time.

SEIU-West represents approximately twelve thousand working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in healthcare, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator – 306.652.1011 ext. 2250

For a printable PDF version of this release, click on the link below:

Media Release: Seniority and Security are needed for Stable Emergency Services

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