Muskoka paramedics ratify new agreement
In early 2014, the members of the Muskoka Paramedics Association voted overwhelmingly to merge with Local 175. The merger agreement included a requirement for our Local Union to focus on negotiating pension and benefit improvements going forward.
The Muskoka Paramedics were one of only a few paramedic services in Ontario that did not have a defined benefit pension plan: Their plan was matching contributions with no guarantee of what benefit they would receive at retirement. Previous attempts to bargain pension improvements had not been successful.
Local 175 arranged an information session for the members with the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and conducted a vote on whether to participate in HOOPP or not. The Union received a 100% mandate from the members to negotiate the defined benefit pension plan into the next collective agreement.
“This show of solidarity from our members ensured that the Union could go to the bargaining table in a strong position to resolve this long-standing issue,” explained President Haggerty. “Our paramedics work every day to protect all of us. They deserve respect and a well-earned pension they can rely on.”
Following 11 days of bargaining and the perseverance of the Union’s negotiating committee, a new three-year memorandum of settlement was reached including participation in the HOOPP defined benefit pension plan. Members are scheduled to join the plan as of February 7, 2016.
Other improvements include wage increases totalling 4.1% over the term of the agreement. Workers with five years of service or more receive a 100% pay out from the severance plan.
Employees may now use 72 hours of their annual paid sick time for Family Leave, up from the previous 48 hours allowed. The cap on Weekly Indemnity increases to $1,200 and long-term disability improves to $5,200. The $300 deductible for chiropractic care has been removed. The meal allowance improves to $13 and workers may now submit multiple receipts per day instead of the previous maximum of one.
New language ensures new employees will have time to meet with their Steward and become acquainted with the collective agreement. Other language improvements address job postings and steward representation. The employer will also pay 100% of the costs for the negotiating committee and printing of collective agreements. The agreement was ratified on September 9, 2015.
Union Negotiating Committee: Mike Cartwright, Brad Davies, Roy Lovold, Paola Oke and Region 8 Director Chris Fuller.