FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 12, 2001
City’s union meddling costly and dangerous for Hamilton
HAMILTON - The City of Hamilton’s dangerous meddling in union affairs has cost taxpayers thousands of dollars and may even put the lives of Hamiltonians at risk.
The City continues to try and force ambulance paramedics into CUPE Local 5167, the City staff union, despite a vote and two Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) rulings certifying OPSEU as the bargaining agent for paramedics. The City has also illegally deducted more than $200,000 in dues from these members, who want this money returned to their members. The
workers still have no collective agreement with the City.
Ambulance paramedics say this has caused confusion, low morale, and staff shortages, which could endanger service to the public.
Now the City is taking another step to try to force these paramedics into Local 5167, by triggering Bill 136 which deals with labour relations in amalgamated cities.
”The public’s safety is at risk because of the City’s stubborn insistence on trying to determine who represents these paramedics,” said Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) President Leah Casselman. “The people of Hamilton should ask why this council is spending so much money when the workers have already made this decision.”
“After thousands of dollars and 16 months of fruitless litigation, the city continues to waste more money in attempting to place paramedics in a union we did not choose,” said Mario Posteraro, President of OPSEU Local 256. Under Bill 136, hearings could drag on for months. The City could spend thousands more just to force another vote. “The City is
interfering in decisions that are the business of the workers to decide and that decision was made in favour of a stand alone bargaining unit under OPSEU.
Posteraro said Hamilton’s Paramedics want to have their own bargaining unit, just as police and firefighters do. “As emergency services workers we have unique situations and legislation which other City workers do not face,” he said. “We want this City to recognize this, give us our dues back, and sit down at the table with us as the elected representatives
of these emergency services workers.”
The OLRB ruled in May that the paramedics should have their own bargaining unit and in November the OLRB certified OPSEU Local 256 as the bargaining agent when the unit voted 99 per cent to continue being represented by OPSEU.
For more information, contact:
David Cox, OPSEU Communications: 416-443-8888 x 314 or 416-788-9197 cell
Mario Posteraro, President, Local 256 905-730-2922 (cell)
Backgrounder: Who speaks for Hamilton paramedics?