More than 100 paramedics and advanced emergency medical technicians (EMTs) at American Medical Response (AMR) in New England are receiving an average raise of 21.1 percent this week, thanks to members of AFSCME Local 4911.
After a year of tough negotiations with the private company, members ratified an agreement that will begin to bring wages up to par with other providers of emergency medical services (EMS) in the region.
Armed with comparison charts and employee surveys, Paramedic and Local 4911 New England Director Frank Cushing Jr. and his coworkers began approaching AMR managers last year about the problem of employee retention.
“Not only have we lost good employees, we've struggled to fill positions,” he said. “At one time, we lost three paramedics to a hospital system. We've been overstretched and overworked. We had to act.”
Their persistence paid off. Members negotiated a memorandum of understanding that calls for AMR to invest more than half a million dollars in the workforce while helping to attract and retain experienced paramedics and EMTs.
Studies like this one show that high employee turnover and fatigue can have a significant impact on patient care. These issues are not unique to AMR’s New England operation. AFSCME members in Washington, D.C., and Arizona are negotiating with AMR and are committed to raising patient care and professional standards at their workplaces.
To learn more about AFSCME’s campaign to improve EMS, visit EMSWorkersUnited.org.