Starting Thursday, only three of Cornwall’s nine ambulances may be on the road since the city’s paramedics would be going on strike.
And they’re not the only ones.
The city is currently in negotiations with four other CUPE locals representing library employees, outside and inside workers, as well as staff at the Glen Stor Dun Lodge, a long-term care home.
“Inside” employees include child care workers, finances, social services, bylaw inspectors, and water and wastewater staff among others; while “outside” include roads and transportation workers, parks and water mains.
Library employees and outside workers could also go on strike beginning Thursday, while inside workers would begin on May 23. Staff at the lodge do not have the right to strike, therefore issues would be resolved through arbitration.
According to a CUPE press release from March 14, library workers have been without a contract since 2015 and 2016 for the others.
“They remain frustrated by both the pace of negotiations and the barriers to settlement that they are facing at the bargaining table,” reads the release.
“We’re not sharing information at this time,” said Cornwall CAO Maureen Adams when asked what issues were being negotiated. “We’re working towards trying to come up with an agreement between CUPE and the City of Cornwall.”
CUPE spokesperson Andrea Addario echoed that sentiment and said, “There’s not much to say between now and the deadline because people are focused on bargaining.”
Both parties said negotiations will continue with a mediator from the Ministry of Labour right up to the deadline.
Stuck in the middle
With the deadline looming, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry sent out a press release outlining the impacts of a strike as many services are delivered through contract with Cornwall.
Emergency services is obviously one of the most crucial. The Ambulance Services Collecting Bargaining Act deems it an “essential service” thus allowing the reduction and not total cessation of the service.
The release calls on the public’s cooperation to ensure the reduced service will be available for those most in need.
“In the event of a major emergency, additional Paramedics can be called in to assist,” it read. “Please call 911 for ambulance assistance if it is needed for severe emergencies such as shortness of breath, chest pain, major traumatic injury or having suffered a period of unconsciousness.” Otherwise try and have a friend or family member drive you to the clinic or doctor’s office.
Other changes impacts include the Winchester Satellite office for social and housing services will be closed, as well Home Child Care or Child Care Fee Subsidy applicants will have to go to the Cornwall office.
Adams confirmed the city is negotiating with each CUPE local individually
The four locals, not including lodge staff, represent about 450 employees.
See below for the full press release from SD&G:
Since the late 1990’s, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry County have shared various services with the City of Cornwall, including land ambulance, social and housing services, and child care. These services are provided under contract and delivered to County residents by unionized employees of the City. While negotiations between the City and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) continue, a strike cold occur as early as Thursday, May 17th, 2018.
Provisions are being made to continue operations during any work stoppage. However, in the event of a strike, there will be impacts to a variety of municipal services. SDG residents are asked to take note of the changes to the following services in the event of a strike:
Paramedics – Land Ambulance
A reduced complement of resources will be available to maintain emergency service coverage. In the event of a major emergency, additional Paramedics can be called in to assist. For the duration of any labour disruption, the assistance of the public is needed to ensure those that truly require emergency services have them available. Please call 911 for ambulance assistance if it is needed for severe emergencies such as shortness of breath, chest pain, major traumatic injury or having suffered a period of unconsciousness. If possible, please have someone drive you to your clinic, doctor’s office or emergency department for all other medical issues.
Social & Housing Services
The main Social & Housing Services office, located in Cornwall at the Justice Building (340 Pitt Street, third floor reception only), will remain open. The Winchester Satellite office will be closed.
If you are applying for Home Child Care or the Child Care Fee Subsidy, you will be required to come to the Cornwall office to complete an application and provide the supporting documentation regarding that request.
Ontario Works applications will continue to be processed. Applicants can apply online at https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/apply_online.aspx or by calling the number below. Ontario Works cheques will continue to be processed and mailed out. Some necessary benefits may be processed. For further information, please call 613-933-6282 ext. 3205.
For Ontario Renovates, Social Housing (Registry) & Rent Supplement Program Applications, please call 613-933-6282 ext. 3315, and your name will be placed on a call list. If you are applying for the Homelessness Prevention Program, you will be required to come to the Cornwall office to complete an application and provide the supporting documentation required.
For questions or information about any of the services listed, please contact the City of Cornwall directly at (613) 930-2787.