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Organizing for Power

From Coast to Coast, EMS Professionals Vote ‘AFSCME – Yes’

UEMSW Approximately 500 emergency medical service workers in New England voted for AFSCME representation by a 9-to-1 margin.

Across the Nation

For proof that AFSCME continues to grow in the face of anti-union tactics, look no further than the 2,300-plus paramedics, emergency medical technicians and support staff in California and New England who voted this past fall to join United EMS Workers/AFSCME Local 4911.

Approximately 1,800 EMS professionals employed by American Medical Response (AMR) in more than a dozen California counties voted nearly 4-to-1 to join AFSCME. Layoffs, attacks on health benefits, short staffing and AMR’s efforts to block their election only increased their determination to join AFSCME.

“We understand that with numbers there is strength, and with strength we can accomplish a whole lot,” said Kathy Ivy, a paramedic in Contra Costa County. “We want to be part of a growing national movement that stands up for EMS workers.”

Days later, 500 EMS workers employed by AMR in New England also voted for AFSCME representation by a 9-to-1 margin. Paramedic Matt Anderson of Brockton, Mass., said joining AFSCME “means we’ll be getting more respect for what we do. For EMS in general it means we’re on our way to making this a profession and not just a job.”

“We can’t afford to be on the sidelines any longer,” added Bob Horte, and EMT paramedic from Hyannis, Mass.

AFSCME, made up of 20,000 EMS professionals before those votes, is the clear choice for those who want to improve patient care. That includes ensuring adequate staffing and ambulances, and the best possible training and equipment for the workers.

Workers are also organizing with AFSCME in other states. Here is a list of some recent victories:


Three-hundred registered nurses have a voice at work at the 240-bed Corona Regional Medical Center after a majority voted to join United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (AFSCME-UNAC/UHCP). Ninety-one employees of Jewish Vocational Services working for the Greater Avenues for Independence program in Los Angeles County voted to join Council 36, beating an anti-union campaign.


Fifty-six non-supervisory city employees of Fort Dodge voted overwhelmingly to join Council 61. Also joining the council: 18 employees of the City of Waterloo, including engineers, police lieutenants and dispatch supervisors.


Ninety-four Lexington sanitation workers voted to join Council 62.


Seventy LPNs, CNAs and trained medication aides (TMAs) at Park River Estates Care Center in Coon Rapids voted overwhelmingly for representation with Council 5. Also, seven Wabasha County Probation workers voted to join Council 65.


Thirty-six Valencia County blue collar employees voted unanimously to join Council 18. 


Thirty-eight employees at the Institute for Community Living (ICL) joined DC 1707 through a majority sign up. They include social service employees and those caring for the developmentally disabled.


Forty employees of First Student in Montgomery County voted to join OAPSE/AFSCME. Also joining OAPSE: 35 transportation employees at the Marysville Exempted Village School District and 35 employees at Crooksville Exempted Village. Joining Council 8: 35 employees of the Williams County Department of Job and Family Services.


Seventy-two human service employees of Person Directed Supports, Inc. joined Council 13, while 38 registered nurses employed by the Select Specialty Hospital in Erie joined District Council 85.


Thirty-nine custodians employed at St. Michael’s College in Colchester voted for representation with Council 93.


Three-hundred employees of Journey Mental Health Center in Dane County voted overwhelmingly to join Council 40. The new unit consists of social workers, psychiatrists, nurses and support employees. 

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