More than 1,800 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers employed by American Medical Response (AMR) in Northern California and 500 EMS workers at New England EMS voted last week to join AFSCME, while more than 900 telecom, health care and other workers chose a voice at work with AFL-CIO unions.
Kathy Ivy (see video), a paramedic in Contra Costa County with 18 years’ experience, said:
We understand that with numbers there is strength, and with strength we can accomplish a whole lot. We want to be part of a growing national movement that stands up for EMS workers and that’s why we voted for United EMS Workers-AFSCME Local 4911.
There had been threats of layoffs at AMR, but EMS workers at Rural/Metro of Northern California, who earlier this year voted to join the union, shared their experiences with the AMR workers. Paramedic Samantha Tennison from Santa Clara County said:
We stopped two dozen layoffs within days of voting for United EMS Workers-AFSCME Local 4911. We’ve proven we can save jobs.
In other organizing news, more than 780 AT&T Mobility retail workers in Louisiana joined the Communications Workers of America (CWA). AT&T has agreed to a neutrality agreement with CWA allowing workers to sign authorization cards showing they want to join the union and, when a majority of cards are certified, the company recognizes the workers’ choice.
Also, 50 health care workers in New Jersey won voluntary recognition from Aspen Hills/Ocean Healthcare. The company purchased the former publicly owned Buttonwood Hospital from Burlington County.
In Brooklyn, N.Y., 46 cable television installers at Vision Pro—a contractor with Brooklyn Cablevision—voted for a voice with CWA. They join the more than 300 Cablevision workers who have voted for CWA in two elections this year.
Meanwhile, 40 workers at VSE Corp. in Hamel, Ill., voted to join the Machinists (IAM). The workers maintain and repair military vehicles. Workers employed by Greyhound in Albuquerque, N.M., including 19 baggage agents and ticket agents, voted overwhelmingly to join the IAM.