The union representing Hamilton’s paramedics won an arbitration decision this week that means, in certain circumstances, paramedics working Ticats games will be paid double time instead of the present time and one half.
In a ruling specific to overtime language in the collective agreement, Arbitrator Larry Steinberg of Labour Arbitration Awards (a quasi-judicial provincial body) ruled that “special events overtime” is subject to provisions of the contract that grant double time pay for paramedics working a second or more successive shift during their scheduled days off.
Paramedics volunteer for special events overtime by seniority, however, it’s covered by a separate section of the collective agreement than regular overtime. The special events section speaks only to time and one half, leading the City to interpret events such as Ticats games as not qualifying for double time.
“The city will respect and honor the ruling of the arbitrator,” says Brent Browett, Hamilton’s Paramedic Chief.
The city provides two paramedics for Ticats games and charges a cost-recovery rate to organizations requesting paramedics. The change does not cover double time and will be changed.
“The Paramedic Division will be informing city council of this development and take direction for setting the future user fees for this service to maintain full cost recovery for the City,” says Browett.
The potential cost, if any, to the city is minimal as the ruling effects a small number of paramedics and is specific to special events overtime.
Emails sent to OPSEU on Wednesday have not been returned.