May 27, 2015

San Diego EMTs Urge Mayor to Delay Extended Contract for EMS Provider

(SAN DIEGO, CA) – EMTs and paramedics working for Rural / Metro of San Diego are urging the mayor and city council to reject a proposal to give Rural / Metro Ambulance a five-year extension at a June 1 city council hearing, and instead declare a 60-day cooling off period in which to settle a contentious labor dispute.

“We’re at a crossroads right now and this 60-day window can pave the way for a solution that works for workers, management, and the people of San Diego,” says Philip Petit, national director for the National Association of Government Employees, the union representing over 400 emergency medical service workers at Rural / Metro San Diego. “But we need a cooling-off period to make it work. If the city will help us, we have every reason to think we can reach a workable positive agreement.”

Workers at Rural / Metro have rejected two tentative contract agreements as they continue to fight for a living wage. The lowest-paid EMTs and paramedics at Rural / Metro earn so little, despite their life-saving skills, that many of them rely on public assistance to make ends meet. When members of NAGE Local 619 voted yesterday to reject the company’s latest contract offer, they also voted to authorize job actions. The first of these actions is informational picketing, to begin May 28 at Rural / Metro corporate headquarters on Second Ave.

Petit said he believes that a compromise is close, but that a vote by the city council to give Rural / Metro a blanket five-year extension would send the wrong message. “Don’t drop a match where someone just spilled gasoline. Give us time to go back to the table, find a way to make this work, and the city can continue with the proper bidding procedures for its EMS contract knowing that its prime candidate did right by its workers.”
Informational picketing and outreach to the mayor and city council of San Diego will continue over the weekend leading up to the city council meeting on Monday, June 1, when the extension of Rural / Metro’s current contract will be decided. 

“Our members do their jobs because they love to serve and they live to make a positive impact on their communities, “said Petit.  “We are asking the mayor and city council of San Diego to stand with us and support the 60-day cool off period to help our members fight for the living wage they deserve.” 

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