EMS Workers to AMR: Stop delaying! We help the public, who helps us?

Modesto, CA… A crowd of EMS workers held a rally calling for democracy outside a meeting Tuesday where their employer—American Medical Response (AMR)—was scheduled to appear. 60 Paramedics, EMTs, Dispatchers, and Vehicle Supply Techs from across Northern California carried signs, wore buttons, and were prepared to deliver a petition bearing several hundred signatures asking AMR to allow them to proceed with their union election for a stronger voice for EMS.

That stronger voice, United EMS Workers-AFSCME Local 4911, was founded by private sector EMS workers across the country seeking to have a union with strength and accountability.

“We’re coming out here today to just let AMR know that we want them to help us continue to help the public,” said Amir Shariat who has worked as an EMT since 2003.

“To me, United EMS Workers is all about us coming together so that we have more access to the tools to continue to help the public,” he added.

Upon hearing of the rally, AMR cancelled their scheduled meeting, but that isn’t stopping United EMS Workers from making their voices heard. Workers will continue to urge AMR to let them move forward for a stronger voice for EMS.

“A majority of us signed cards in favor of AFSCME-United EMS Workers. AMR is essentially ignoring that. We want them to listen to us.” said Brandon Bigos, a seven-year EMT.

Kathy Ivy, who has worked with AMR for 16 years as a Paramedic, also attended the rally.

“We would like AMR to stop blocking our vote so that we can move forward, sit down at the table with them, and have that chance to talk, build a better relationship, and make sure that we have the safety equipment and the units on the road that we need,” she said.

Todd Bourgeois, a Paramedic for the last 11 years, said that proceeding with a vote for United EMS Workers is about continuing the mission for safe and efficient care for patients.

“I want people to have confidence every time they see an AMR rig pull up to their house. I want them to know that these guys are well trained, well equipped, and no matter what the outcome my family member got the best patient care possible,” he added.