Tag Archives: EMS

Milkshakes and Teddy Bears

National Paramedic Services Week is from May 25-May 31.  This is an opportunity to recognize the valuable work of people who provide emergency medical services as Paramedics.

Listen to our Paramedics Services Week Radio Ad:

This story is written from the point of view of the SEIU-West staff person assigned to write a story about our members who are Paramedics with Moose Jaw EMS.

I have sat down with Moose Jaw EMS members twice now and both times I have come away with a feeling of pride that we represent these hard working people. This time they provided me with a glimpse as to why what they do is so valued.

I had the pleasure to interview Paramedics, Neil Diacon and Mike Slater. When they are talking about their work, the confidence seems to come so naturally. The first time we were talking about a specific story pertaining to a heart attack (link to previous EMS story). This time I wanted to get a sense of what their day-to-day work looks like. Here is what I found…

They started telling me how important it was to have a partner that you trusted. These two men have known each other for a decade but have never been paired together. They have only been a team for two months.

I asked if there was a growing period, they both said, ‘no’.  “It is a small station in a smaller community and with that comes familiarity,” said Mike. They have toasted over life’s milestone moments and shared birthday parties over the years so by the time they were partnered up, “we gelled immediately and I think that’s because we knew each other so well,” continued Mike.

EMS-May-2014-06

Paramedics Mike Slater, Neil Diacon with their Union Representative Bob Desjarlais

They both talked about how much more time you spend with your partner than your wife, so trust and confidence is a big component. “In this job a good partner is everything.  This job is temperamental. One minute we are in a clean white station house and the next we could be in a cold dark alley,” said Neil.

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Ad Moose Jaw Express – Week of May 25, 2014

They both agreed that the ‘big deal’ stuff like a heart attack is a really only a small portion of what they do. The bulk of their job is what I have come to understand as the ‘quiet of the job’. It lives in the shadows and is the stuff that nobody ever sees and nobody really talks about.

I asked for an example. They told a story about a man that they picked up from the hospital.  Their job was a simple one. Take this guy from the hospital to his home. He was in his mid 60’s and was terminally ill with skin cancer. So, they were effectively taking him home to die. As they were leaving the hospital a nurse told Neil that he loved strawberry milkshakes. They safely delivered the patient home and later in the day they stopped in at Dairy Queen and got him a strawberry milkshake. There was no IV, and no medication, there was no urgency at all, only a dying man and a childhood treat. “It was the simple pleasure of watching his face light up,” said Neil. Some time later they saw that same nurse and mentioned to her that they had gotten that patient his milkshake and her face lit up too.

They talked about another story where a very sick little girl and her dad needed to be taken from one hospital to another. Before they left, one of them went to the truck and presented her with a teddy bear, she smiled and said thank you. Just before they arrived in Regina, Neil asked the girl if she had named him yet. She responded, “I think I’ll name him Bob.” To which her dad said, “You name everyone Bob.”

I asked if they had told anyone or if their boss knew. They said no, it’s just the ‘quiet part’ of the job. I noticed that they seemed content and proud of their work even though they delivered the story in a very humble way. They both seemed to understand the inherent value of these simple acts.

So days later as I sat to try and pull this story together I ask myself why did you cry when they told you about the milkshake? The answer is as simple, because it mattered.

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Emergency Medical Services Week 2013

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EMS Week 2012

SEIU-West celebrates EMS Week in recognition of our members who provide Emergency Medical Services in communities across Saskatchewan.

Emergency Medical Services are valued by all citizens. These services close the loop in terms of providing emergent and timely health care in all of our cities and towns.

Often EMS are the first responders to arrive and provide urgent medical care.

They stay with you, if needed, until you reach a safe, stable clinical environment.

Trusted and true service from health care professionals who believe in providing quality, compassionate, critical care!

On this week, we congratulate our EMS members in Moose Jaw and Central Butte who were successful in concluding negotiations of their collective agreement recently.

Click on this link to read more about their story.

 

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Media Release: SEIU-West Members Ratify 4 Year Contract at Moose Jaw & District EMS

For Immediate Release – April 2, 2012

Moose Jaw – The SEIU-West Bargaining Committee is pleased to announce that the workers have accepted the contract that was negotiated with Moose Jaw & District EMS.

“We are content that the seniority issue has been resolved,” said Neil Diacon, Moose Jaw and District EMS worker and bargaining committee member. “I can’t say that it was easy to get to but the employer seems to understand the necessity of having stable staff in order to provide stable care”.

Ballots cast on Friday, March 29, 2012 revealed a 66% vote in favour of accepting the memorandum of agreement.

“Our members collectively made the decision a number of weeks ago to pursue an agreement that is fair and equitable when compared with others who provide a similar service in the province of Saskatchewan,” said Kerry Barrett, Negotiations Officer for SEIU-West. “Though it’s not exactly what members wanted, as you can see by the level of acceptance, this Agreement was hard fought and comes as a result of their determination and resolve”.

SEIU-West members who provide emergency medical services in the community of Moose Jaw and Central Butte did have to employ some job action but kept their promise to the community that their services would continue.

“Though we didn’t get everything we set out to achieve, we think that we were able to make good compromises that ultimately improve the working lives of our members in Moose Jaw and Central Butte and the service for the public,” continued Barrett.

Other changes in the contract include improved Union recognition and grievance procedure provisions as well as continued wage parity with EMS workers in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region. The new collective agreement will expire March 31, 2015.

SEIU-West represents approximately twelve thousand working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in healthcare, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator – 306.652.1011 ext. 2250

For a printable PDF of this release, click on the link below:

Media Release: SEIU-West Members Ratify 4 Year Contract at Moose Jaw & District EMS

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Media Release: SEIU-West Members Achieve a Tentative Agreement At Moose Jaw & District EMS

For Immediate Release, March 23, 2012

Moose Jaw – Representatives of the SEIU-West Bargaining Committee were pleased to announce to their membership that a tentative agreement has been reached today with their employer, Moose Jaw and District EMS.  SEIU-West members who provide emergency medical services in the communities of Moose Jaw and Central Butte are cautiously optimistic that their ongoing struggle to achieve a fair collective agreement is now behind them.

“We believe that this is a deal our members need to vote on,” said Kerry Barrett, Negotiations Officer for Service Employees International Union West (SEIU-West). “Our members collectively made the decision a number of weeks ago to pursue an agreement that is fair and equitable when compared with others who provide a similar service in the province of Saskatchewan.  This Tentative Agreement comes as a result of their determination and resolve.  We will be meeting with our members to review it and to conduct a ratification vote.”

Further details will be released following the ratification process, which is scheduled for March 30, 2012 in Moose Jaw and Central Butte.

SEIU-West represents approximately twelve thousand working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in healthcare, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.

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For more information, contact:

Kerry Barrett, Negotiations Officer  – 306.690.4407

For a PDF version of this release, click on the link below:

Media Release: SEIU-West members Achieve a Tentative Agreement At Moose Jaw & District EMS

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BARGAINING REPORT no.5: Moose Jaw & District EMS

March 23 2012

Brothers and Sisters:

Your bargaining team wants to report that we have reached a tentative agreement with the Employer. Following meetings on Monday, March 19 and Friday, March 23rd, an agreement was reached we believe addresses issues sufficiently for presentation to the membership.

We will bring this package out to the members for discussion and ratification vote on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 4:00pm. This meeting will be held at the SEIU-West meeting room at 39 Athabasca Street West, Moose Jaw.

Those members working at the Central Butte Station will be given an opportunity to cast their ballot that day as well. Representatives from the Bargaining Team will come out to the Central Butte Station. We will meet with the members and allow them to consider the package and cast their vote.

We strongly encourage all members to attend this meeting. Full details of the settlement will be provided at the meeting. We want to hear your opinion of this settlement. Your opinions are important and you have the right to determine the direction of your Collective Agreement.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to talk with Neil or Dwight.

In solidarity,

MJ & District EMS Bargaining Team

Neil Diacon, Unit Chairperson
Dwight Chartrand
Bob Desjarlais, Union Representative
Kerry Barrett, Negotiations Officer

Download a PDF version of this Bargaining Report:

Bargaining Update No. 5: Moose Jaw and District EMS

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Media Release: Bargaining Resumes

For Immediate Release – March 7, 2012

Moose Jaw – Members of SEIU-West employed at Moose Jaw & District EMS and the Employer agreed to return to the bargaining table tomorrow March 8, 2012 at 10 a.m. The members have agreed to suspend their job action. The parties have agreed to not talk to the media about bargaining until a deal has been reached, or talks break down.

“The members have determined that they want to get down to negotiating a collective agreement. However, the employer must be willing to negotiate in good faith regarding the membership’s issues,” said Kerry Barrett, Negotiations officer with SEIU-West.

SEIU-West members do not want to put emergency ambulance services at risk.

“Our members are going to continue to provide professional emergency services for Moose Jaw and Central Butte,” continued Barrett. “However, the members are very determined to negotiate a fair and reasonable collective agreement that is acceptable.”

SEIU-West represents approximately twelve thousand working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in healthcare, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.

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For more information, contact:

Kerry Barrett, Negotiations Officer, SEIU-West  – 306.690.4407

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Media Alert: Moose Jaw EMS Workers Lockout Update

As of 9 am today the workers of Moose Jaw Emergency Medical Services (MJ EMS) have not been locked out.

Workers will continue to work but will only provide the emergency functions of the job. This includes responding to emergency calls, and handling patients in a professional manner. This affects not only the workers in Moose Jaw but in Central Butte as well.

Updates will be provided if the situation changes or negotiations resume.

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Media contact:

Kerry Barrett, SEIU-West Negotiations Officer – 306.690.4407

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Correction to Media Release: Seniority and Security are needed for Stable Emergency Care Services

SEIU-West has made an error in the Media Release: Seniority and Security are needed for Stable Emergency Care Services. The EMS collective agreement did not expire in 2009. It expired on March 31, 2011. The last wage increase was 2008 and then there is provision for wage re-openers April 2009 and April 2010 that have not yet been applied to the rates.

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Media Release: Seniority and Security are needed for Stable Emergency Care Services

For Immediate Release:

March 1, 2012

Moose Jaw – Members of SEIU-West employed at Moose Jaw & District EMS have served their employer with Strike Notice. The members in this workplace have been without a collective agreement since April 1, 2009. The main issue in dispute is the use of seniority to obtain additional hours of work. In response to the Strike Notice and to back their demands, the Employer has served the Union with notice of their intent to lock out the employees as of 9:00 am Saturday, March 3rd.

“Our members have made it clear that they want the security of a viable job within their home community”, says Neil Diacon, Unit Chair. “We are dedicated experienced professionals who are committed to providing the best service possible to the citizens of Moose Jaw and its surrounding areas.”

The Employer has stated they want to run their operation through the use of casual employees who will not have any guarantee of work but strictly be on call leaving the Employer the sole ability to determine who will work when and at the lowest possible rate of pay.

“Relying on solely casual workers would be a risky move,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “Ambulatory services are extremely important in this province. The citizens should be able to rely on the fact that when they call 911, there will be someone there who will come and help them in their time of need. Refusing to allow for the seniority principle within the collective agreement enables the Employer to hold employees off work for periods of time to ensure they are not able to advance through the negotiated pay scales, and doesn’t help to keep a permanent pool of qualified professionals at their disposal.

“These working people want the security of knowing their jobs and their lives are protected by a true seniority based hours of work system, the same as in virtually every other healthcare workplace in this province,” continued Cape.

The Union has told the Employer that they are prepared to return to the table and negotiate a fair and just resolution to the issue. The Employer has refused to negotiate further or to set additional meeting dates at this time.

SEIU-West represents approximately twelve thousand working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in healthcare, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator – 306.652.1011 ext. 2250

For a printable PDF version of this release, click on the link below:

Media Release: Seniority and Security are needed for Stable Emergency Services

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