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Peace River air ambulance workers face lockout

March 18, 2010, Peace River, Alta. - The operator of an air ambulance service based in northwestern Alberta has served lockout notice to its employees.


March 18, 2010
By The Canadian Press

Advanced Paramedic Ltd., which is based at the airport in Peace River, employees nine paramedics and emergency medical technicians.

The private company provides emergency health services to Edmonton from Peace River and surrounding communities.

The air ambulance employees voted to join the Health Sciences Association of Alberta in August 2009 and have since been trying to reach a first contract.

The association is asking the Alberta Labour Relations Board to dismiss APL's lockout notice.

Alberta Health Services contracted out the Peace River air ambulance service to APL in February 2003.

The association says the two sides are far apart on many issues, including scheduling.

Employees now work six days in a row on a 24-hour work cycle, which the association says "compromises the health and safety of both patient and health-care worker.''

The union represents more than 1,200 EMS personnel across the province, including air ambulance service members.