New Agreement for Sault Ste. Marie Paramedics

May 18, 2011, 4:05 PM EST

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CAW Local 1120 members who are paramedics in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario have voted in favour of a new agreement with wage increases in each year of the three-year deal.

The agreement provides wage increases of 2.5 per cent, 2 per cent and 2 per cent, retroactive to April 1, 2011, along with other language and monetary gains.

A key issue in negotiations was parity with other first responders such as fire and police.  These EMS members hourly rate is well behind, despite large call volumes and the evolving role of paramedics and the need for constant upgrading, said CAW National Representative Andy Savela.

"The issue of wage disparity between paramedics and other first responders was a huge focus in these negotiations," said Rob Giovagnoli, CAW Local 1120 president. "We achieved a settlement that begins to close that gap."

Savela said "this agreement supports the fact we have the ability to freely negotiate settlements in the public sector that bargaining committees can recommend to their members in spite of the province's direction towards wage restraint."

As part of the effort to close the wage parity gap, the CAW is participating in meetings coordinated by AMEMSO, the umbrella group representing municipalities and EMS administration groups, with the goal of determining who responds to various emergency calls and how they are responded to.  The issue of wage parity among first responders is an issue the CAW intends to raise at the meeting.

The CAW represents 38 paramedics in Local 1120, who work in Sault Ste. Marie, Garden River and the surrounding area. They voted 54 per cent in favour of the agreement on May 13.

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