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.
Proper, functioning equipment is vital for us to do our jobs safely and effectively. But for private EMS operations, cost reigns supreme, and EMS professionals are sometimes forced to make do with ill-equipped ambulances that aren’t stocked with essential supplies.
Working 24 hours straight with no break. Performing life-or-death medical procedures having had no sleep, no rest. Fatigue is one of the most common problems we face, since we’re often denied adequate periods of rest and recovery.
Learn how joining EMS Workers United/AFSCME has improved our lives on the job while elevating our profession.
Functioning ambulances that are stocked with the supplies we need. Personal protective equipment — paid for by our employers — so we can do our jobs safely and efficiently. EMS Workers United/AFSCME got us the tools we need.
Despite playing a crucial role in our communities and devoting hundreds or even thousands of classroom hours toward our training, EMS professionals often only earn the minimum wage and shoulder the burden of paying the full cost of our health insurance. Meanwhile, the corporations that employ us are growing rich off our backs.
Joining EMS Workers United/AFSCME means that we have a tool to negotiate for a fair return on our work. In Arizona, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, EMS workers who’ve joined with EMS Workers United/AFSCME have won long-sought-after raises and health care they can afford. In private-sector units that operate Interfacility Transfers (IFT), EMS Workers/United/AFSCME has fought and won the fight to significantly reduce the pay gaps between 911 and IFT services.
Joining a union means we can better fight for our patients and ourselves. Through enforceable, clear policies, we’ve worked with our employers to develop rules to stem fatigue, fairly compensate us for overtime, and most importantly, to keep patient safety a priority despite call tempo. We have also advocated for and won harsher criminal penalties for those who assault and injure emergency responders.
Unfortunately, many people don’t view EMS professionals as first responders and providers of life-sustaining services. For too long, our contributions have been overlooked. Like the police and fire department, we play an equally important role in the emergency response system and deserve the same recognition.
Joining one of the biggest unions in the country means being seen, heard and knowing that you’re taken seriously. We’re now able to see a bright future for our profession and for our families.
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