AFSCME Now talked to a New Mexico paramedic with a unique window into the challenges EMS professionals face. Despite those challenges, his dedication reflects the resolve of all AFSCME EMS professionals.
Darin Glodo is an 18-year veteran public safety communicator – a 911 operator in common parlance – for the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He charts his passion for his job to a single, life-changing call he fielded in 2002, at the dawn of his career.
Representative Norma Torres (D-CA), a former 911 dispatcher for the Los Angeles Police Department and AFSCME Local 3090 member, co-sponsored a bill that is being introduced today, 911 SAVES Act, that would give 911 dispatchers the recognition they deserve.
The EMS professionals at American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance service in Washington, D.C., recently ratified their first contract after organizing with EMS Workers United/AFSCME District Council 20 last year. They’re now armed with an agreement that puts them on a strong footing for the future as they seek to elevate their profession while serving their community.
Before coming together for a voice on the job in 2017, the paramedics, EMTs and dispatchers in Prescott, Arizona, had no way to stem the tide of overreaches by their employer.

Pamela Knight, a child protective investigator with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Service (DCFS), was sent to check on the welfare of a child last fall. When she arrived at the child’s residence, the father viciously attacked her. She died months later as a result of the injuries she sustained during the attack.

As EMS professionals, we're the first to show up when the unthinkable happens. Like doctors, we deliver lifesaving medical treatment; like firefighters, we rush headlong into disaster; like police officers, we calm potentially dangerous situations. Our communities depend on our bravery, skill and clear thinking. All too often, however, our sacrifices are taken for granted.

EMS professionals are the first to show up when the unthinkable happens. Like doctors, they deliver lifesaving medical treatment; like firefighters, they rush headlong into disaster; like police officers, they defuse potentially dangerous situations.

The 156 members of AFSCME Local 2960/EMS United in Maricopa County, Arizona, signed a 4-year agreement with American Medical Response (AMR), winning a 14 percent wage increase, lower costs for health care and a voice on service quality.

The contract, Local 2960's first with the company, was ratified unanimously by the membership in late February.

“There isn’t one member who is not absolutely excited about the future ahead,” said Brian Weinberg, a Tolleson-based paramedic who joined AMR/Maricopa from its inception.

EMS is one of the most dangerous professions in the country. Unfortunately, the EMTs and paramedics who put their lives on the line every day are up against a broken system.

Experience the full interactive brochure here.

Now a paramedic with American Medical Response in Riverside County, California, and a member of AFSCME Local 4911, La Russo became a paramedic by age 20 and has been saving lives for nearly 30 years.