Nov 19, 2015

Manatee County EMS Protests for Fair Wages

Members of Manatee County EMS stood together Thursday morning outside of the Manatee County Administrative Building to protest low wages and unfair treatment in the workplace. Over 30 employees and their families lined the street of their first location on their route to let the public know the difficulties they have faced over the past several years.

Local 747 has spent the past three years fighting for livable wages for its members, which would ensure a stable, professional EMS force for the residents of Manatee County. After a failed attempt to negotiate a fair agreement, the members took to the streets. 

Among the many issues this group faces is the fact that seniority with the company does not reflect pay. “The company brought forth a pay package that benefits newer members, but those who are already here up to about 10 or 12 years will be making the same pay check as the guy who starts tomorrow,” said IAEP Local 747 President William Schick. At this time, paramedics with over 10 years of service still make the starting salary. 

Many employees say they are having a hard time supporting their families and believe it’s time to let the public know about the unfair wages and lack of adequate staffing. Employees are being overworked, covering multiple unfunded positions instead of adding employees to cover the open spots.

These professionals will continue to fight against being overworked and underpaid, and show no signs of stopping until they get what they deserve. 

“The members of Local 747 are fed up,” said IAEP National Director Philip Petit.   “After three years of good faith bargaining, the county still refuses to address the real issue. These men and women are working longer hours for less than a livable wage. That’s unacceptable in any situation and for any profession, let alone for a group of first responders who heed the call every single day.”

Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected. - Samuel Gompers
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