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August 6, 2009

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Support for paramedics doubles: union website

VANCOUVER—Ambulance Paramedics of BC – CUPE 873 report that the number of people logging onto their website has doubled in the past two weeks.

“We’ve had thousands of visitors to our site this week alone,” says Ambulance Paramedics of BC president John Strohmaier.

Strohmaier noted that as more people are finding out about the strike, paramedics are getting more offers of support from the general public.

“People are asking what they can do to help. It feels good that folks out there are starting to recognize the difficult situation we are working under and that they appreciate that we’re on strike so that all families can have access to the best service possible when they need it.”

Ambulance paramedics continue to provide ambulance services but are now wearing T-shirts carrying the message “On Strike To Save Lives” and distributing lawn signs directing people to their web site. The striking CUPE 873 members have also stepped up a campaign asking MLAs to support them in asking the government to either get back to the table or appoint an arbitrator to settle the longstanding dispute.

People logging onto the paramedics web site at can get information and write letters to their local media and local MLA.

The paramedics, who have been trying to address problems of a deteriorating ambulance service, are asking the government to get back to the bargaining table. They have now been on strike for 128 days. Members of CUPE 873 want the government to negotiate so that improvements can be made to how services are delivered. Chronic understaffing and long response times continue to be the biggest issues paramedics want the government to address.

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