The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2974, which represents paramedics and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel in Windsor-Essex County, Ontario, has initiated the arbitration process in its legal battle against mandatory COVID vaccine mandates in the workplace. CUPE Paramedics of Windsor-Essex made the announcement on social media on July 11, stating that arbitration would commence the following day, marking what they dubbed “the most comprehensive, substantive labor challenge against COVID workplace mandates seen in Ontario.”
In their social media posts, the union expressed their commitment to fight against what they perceive as coercive and immoral policies. They have been providing updates on the arbitration process, sharing that the employer’s arguments are based on outdated science and that they are challenging the notion that mandates and vaccines effectively prevent transmission. The union claimed to be the most outspoken union local in Ontario and possibly in all of Canada regarding mandates. They emphasized their dedication to defending their members throughout the process.
One of the points raised by the union is that unvaccinated individuals who are asymptomatic and have tested negative for COVID-19 might be safer in the workplace compared to confirmed positive individuals who have been vaccinated. The employer’s argument, according to the union, is that rapid antigen testing as an alternative to mandatory vaccinations is equally intrusive, likening it to the injection of a foreign substance into the body. The union criticized the fact that confirmed COVID-19 positive individuals were allowed to continue working due to staffing issues while thousands of healthcare workers were terminated in Ontario.
The Epoch Times reached out to Chief of Essex-Windsor EMS Bruce Krauter for comment, but he did not respond by press time. In January 2022, Mr. Krauter stated that the COVID vaccine policy was implemented to protect the public and staff.
The union had previously expressed its opposition to vaccine mandates in January 2022, referring to the belief that such mandates prevent the spread of COVID-19 as a “beautiful, fantastical lie.” They also accused proponents of vaccine mandates of being authoritarian and having a propensity for evil. However, the union’s president, James Jovanovic, clarified that those remarks were meant ironically. Mr. Jovanovic emphasized the importance of individual choice and opposed forced mandates that would result in the termination of unvaccinated workers. He stated that while he and most of his members chose to vaccinate, the union would defend the rights of all its members, regardless of their medical choices.
Mr. Jovanovic criticized vaccine mandates as a politicized public health issue that has eroded public trust and driven people by fear. He believed that if compassion, respect, and the freedom to make independent choices were granted, the goal of increased vaccinations could have been achieved without causing lasting damage to communities. Mr. Jovanovic pointed out that prior to the implementation of mandates, the Essex Windsor EMS was already struggling with a significant increase in Code Blacks, where no ambulances were available to respond to 911 calls. Since the mandates, the shortage of ambulances and paramedics has worsened due to frequent down staffing caused by a lack of available staff.
As the arbitration process continues, CUPE Local 2974 will persist in its fight against mandatory COVID vaccine mandates in the workplace, aiming to protect the rights and choices of its members while advocating for alternative solutions to ensure public health and safety.