Apr 24, 2019

Paramedics and EMTs Continue Contract Talks Amidst Safety Concerns

The following was press released was distributed by the IAEP on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.
Paramedics & EMTs Continue Contract Talks Amidst Safety Concerns
(Yakima, WA) —Emergency Medical Services professionals employed at Advanced Life Systems (ALS) Ambulance, members of International Association of EMTs and Paramedics (IAEP) Local 509, remain concerned over staffing levels as they continue to provide EMS services to the greater Yakima community amidst years of ongoing contract negotiations.

“Across the country, a paramedic shortage has made it increasingly difficult for EMS agencies to recruit new employees and maintain appropriate staffing,” said IAEP National Director Philip Petit.  “In Yakima, ALS management is opting to fight their employees at the negotiation table instead of working to find a solution.  As a result of inadequate wages and benefits as well as consistently high call volumes, turnover has increased while recruitment is even more difficult.  ALS management even recently had to close a station over these ongoing problems.”

Employees estimate that there are days ALS has approximately half the number of units on the street as compared to this time last year, which can lead to increased 911 response times and EMS crew burn-out.  Over the past five years, ALS management has stalled negotiations and engaged in a number of potential violations of labor law.

“In recent years, we’ve noticed a severe lack in fair pay raises but management continues to spend money hand over fist to fight against a contract and the union,” said Petit. “That’s money that could have been put into better wages, training, equipment, and a number of areas that would improve public safety and patient care.”

Negotiations are currently scheduled to resume in May 2019. The IAEP remains committed to finding a solution with management that will maintain the high level of service provided by ALS employees for years to come. 

“It’s time for ALS management to work with their employees to help maintain the high quality of service that has been and continues to be provided by these dedicated first responders,” said Petit.  “Their owner comes from and continues to be heavily involved in Yakima, I simply don’t understand why he would not want to work with the people that he, his family, and the entire community counts on at home to provide the best emergency medical care. We think these men and women deserve better. They are there for you when you need them, now they need your support.”

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