Thunder Bay·Audio

Paramedics rally at Thunder Bay city hall

Paramedics want to send a clear message to Thunder Bay city council and administration: they're ready to go on strike by the end of the month.

Paramedics and supporters gather ahead of April 28 strike date

About 50 paramedics and supporters gathered outside of Thunder Bay city hall Monday night to show their support for a new contract for paramedics in Thunder Bay. (Jeff Walters/CBC)
Paramedics rallied outside of city hall in Thunder Bay - looking for support for a new contract. And, they could be on the picket lines if no deal is reached. We'll hear more on that story.

Paramedics want to send a clear message to Thunder Bay city council and administration: they're ready to go on strike by the end of the month.

About fifty paramedics and supporters gathered outside city hall on Monday night to ensure council and administration is aware that workers voted 100 per cent in favour of going on strike.

"We're down to the short strokes here. The city's got some major concessions still on the table that have to go," said Andy Savela, a National Staff Representative with Unifor, the union representing paramedics. 

"The other major stumbling block is we have a paramedic group that's highly skilled. Some of the most highly utilized, but down in the 10 to 20 per cent in terms of their compensation when you compare them to other services across the province."
Rob Moquin, a primary care paramedic with Superior North EMS and unit chair with Unifor, Andy Savela, Unifor National Staff Representative and Keri Jefford, Unifor Local 229 President stand outside of Thunder Bay city hall at a rally for paramedics. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Savela said it's difficult to consider concessions, when other first responders like police and firefighters have received hefty pay increases through negotiations or arbitration.

"We're just hoping to get recognized along with again, other first reponders in our city and other first responders across the province."

Savela said paramedics have worked without a contract for a year. 

Paramedics could go on strike as of April 28, although Savela said it doesn't mean paramedics would necessarily go on strike that day.

He said as they are an essential service, there is an agreement in place with the city to ensure there is emergency coverage in place.


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