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For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

AFSCME Honors EMS Workers for Service and Commitment to Communities

Statement of AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on National EMS Week

Washington, DC — 

May 19-25 is National EMS Week, a time to recognize and thank EMS workers for the vital support and assistance they provide throughout the year.

At some point, most families in America need emergency medical services. When an accident or serious medical crisis occurs, EMS workers rush to help.  While we honor our nation’s EMS workers for their hard work and service, let’s also remember that to do their jobs well, EMS workers must have the proper equipment, training and experience.

AFSCME is proud of our efforts to provide EMS workers with a strong voice in the workplace. More than 20,000 emergency services personnel throughout the nation are AFSCME members. Since 2012, more than 3,000 EMS professionals have organized with AFSCME so we are getting even stronger every day!

Our union’s 1.6 million members are particularly proud of the crucial role our sisters and brothers of FDNY Local 2507 and Local 3621 played in the rescue effort during and after Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast Coast. While their own families and homes were at risk, these workers demonstrated a real commitment to their neighbors and communities. Their service and sacrifice were an inspiration to New York and the entire country.

This year, the theme of EMS Week is “One Mission. One Team.” EMS workers know the importance of teamwork. EMTs, paramedics, Vehicle Service Technicians, mechanics, System Status Coordinators, schedulers, and others understand that lives can be lost unless they work together. From the moment a call for help is placed, until assistance and care are delivered, the team must work together.

EMS workers throughout the nation also know the importance of working together with union colleagues to advance their profession throughout the nation. Regardless of where they work, many of the issues they face with their employer are similar. That’s why EMS workers from across the country serve as Volunteer Member Organizers, meeting and getting to know their EMS colleagues to talk about the issues they have in common and the need to face them together.

Jose Gonzalez – a member of AFSCME Local 3621 who took vacation time last year to help out his fellow EMS workers in California – put it this way: “Whether we’re in New York, Indiana, or California, we are all EMS workers who deserve a unified voice in the work we do.” AFSCME is proud of our EMS members who contribute so much to their communities. We salute their service as the nation celebrates National EMS Week.

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