Apr 22, 2020

Unfair Labor Practice Charges Filed Against Care Ambulance of California

(SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) More than 90 EMTs and paramedics at Care Ambulance Service have seen their hours cut back without warning over the last two weeks. While COVID-19 continues to overwhelm EMS units nationwide, the severely reduced number of ambulances on the road for Care has also meant a sharp uptick in workload for those remaining. Concerns over wages, sick leave and other working conditions pre-pandemic have been pushed to the extreme by cutbacks. The International Association of EMTs and Paramedics (IAEP) who answered the call of Care employees to assist in unionizing, filed formal charges on Friday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over management’s cuts to hours and implored county representatives to pressure Care with investigations of their own.
 
Organizing for the more than 1100 members of Care Ambulance seeking to unionize began in early February before the first case of COVID-19 broke in the United States. With the spread of the virus, overall pressure on the American emergency medical system has redoubled week over week creating a dual front for the embattled first responders. Fighting a pandemic on one hand and management on the other, “...has driven many EMS workers to fight even harder for securing union protections.” Said IAEP National Representative Michael Linville.
 
“These heroic first responders are putting their lives on the line for others every shift during a global health crisis. The tireless men and women of Care just want to be compensated fairly for doing the jobs they love and they’re tired of management’s games.” Linville continued. “Heroes deserve better.”
 
With Care employees casting their union votes in early June, the actions taken on their behalf speak to the need for better representation among all EMS professionals and systemic changes protecting workers rights according to IAEP National Director Phil Petit. If passed, the upcoming vote to unionize will mean introducing contracts for Care EMS professionals, making future changes such as cuts to working hours illegal without negotiations involving union reps.
 
“The employees at Care seeking to join our union know what the protections and assurances our members are afforded. Actions like those Care management is suspected of only highlight the need for these protections.” Petit said of the Southern California labor struggle.
 
Following investigation by the NLRB, Care Ambulance Service and their parent organization Falck USA may be forced to repay lost wages if the event unfair labor practice charges are upheld.



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