Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Out BC way the provincial government has shut down a seven month strike by BC ambulance paramedics. The reason---The Olympics. It seems that the everyday concerns of the citizens of BC are insufficient reason for such legislation, but the needs of the corporate circus are just such a reason. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) who represent the ambulance paramedics has called for online solidarity to petition the BC government to return to the bargaining table. Here is their appeal.
The Olympics are no excuse for an attack on workers' rights:‏
CUPE is fighting the BC Liberal government’s use of legislative force against the province’s 3,500 CUPE 873 striking ambulance paramedics. The government shutdown a legal seven-month strike even though paramedics were working under Essential Services orders and were in the midst of voting on the government’s latest offer. The legislation was demanded by the Olympic Organizing Committee which is now considering using scabs to run ambulance services during the Vancouver 2010 Games. This is a fundamental assault on Canadian workers’ rights to free collective bargaining.

Write today and put the B.C. government on notice: They must return to the bargaining table immediately to negotiate a fair collective agreement. The message you sent will go a long way to let them know that workers’ rights cannot and will not be trampled for the Olympics or any other excuse.
Please go to THIS LINK to send the following letter to the government of British Columbia.
I understand British Columbia is preparing to welcome the world as host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Unfortunately, the actions of your government in its dealings with B.C. ambulance paramedics makes it very difficult to support this celebration.

You refused to negotiate and forced the 3,500 members of CUPE 873 into a strike on April 1, 2009. You had essential services orders imposed on the paramedics, forcing them to work despite the dispute. For more than seven months your government refused to deal with the critical condition of the ambulance service or agree to independent, third-party dispute resolution.

The ultimate outrage was your decision to impose legislation while the workers were in the midst of voting your own last offer - a shameful first in Canadian labour history. Now you are considering the use of scabs to provide ambulance service at those same Winter Olympics. Shame.

The rights to organize and to free collective bargaining are cornerstones of Canada’s democratic structure. Your actions are trampling those freedoms and must be challenged.

I urge you to immediately get to the bargaining table with CUPE Local 873 and reach a fair collective agreement. Ambulance paramedics deserve respect and the citizens of British Columbia deserve a healthy ambulance service.

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