CUPE Attempts to Block Paramedic Reclassification as Medical Professionals

On January 22, 2020, the New Brunswick Paramedic Reclassification Committee was notified that CUPE made filings to the Labour & Employment Board, in an attempt to block Paramedics from being classified as "Medical Science Professionals."

Paramedics throughout New Brunswick are expressing frustration with the actions of CUPE and their attempts to block Paramedics from being classified as Medical Professionals.

“To us [Paramedics], it is the definition of insanity, to be giving CUPE money as part of our dues, that is then being put towards legal counsel, to oppose something we want."

Last month at the New Brunswick Legislature, in front of nearly 150 Paramedics, Health Minister Hugh (Ted) Flemming announced that his government would be providing a proper classification for Paramedics, as "Medical Science Professionals." This proper classification is being awarded following a thorough, unbiased, classification analysis, that was undertaken by the Department of Human Resources, for the Province.

This analysis, the only one performed on Paramedics since 1972, lasted months and involved a number of relevant stakeholders, including the Paramedic Association of New Brunswick, Medavie Health Services New Brunswick, and the Paramedic membership as a whole.

The analysis sought to identify whether any changes had occurred to the Paramedic profession, since the early 1970s.

The analysis looked at the expansive scope of practice possessed by Paramedics, their roles, responsibilities, and risks.

With the analysis concluding that Paramedics were indeed improperly classified, it required that they be deleted from their current classification, under CUPE 1252 and inserted under the New Brunswick Union, within the Medical Science Professionals component.

Despite an official vote being administered last November confirming the support of 97.5% of the Paramedic membership for the change, CUPE has decided to oppose, arguing that during the current period of a "bargaining freeze," that Paramedics should have never been reclassified.

They are also arguing that Paramedics are more appropriately placed under their current classification from 1972 and that the New Brunswick Paramedic Reclassification Committee had no right to represent the Paramedics, in pursuit of their mandate.

Next Steps:

The Provinces Paramedics will have until February 3rd, 2020 to submit petitions to the Labour & Employment Board, in an attempt to show the Board their desire to receive a new classification.

Given member dues are financing CUPE's opposition and that tax dollars would be funding the Paramedics defense, Paramedics throughout New Brunswick are asking CUPE to #StandDown and respect their wishes and the evolution of their profession.

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