November 14, 2008
AMR Receives Strike Notice From SEIU Local #1107 in Las Vegas
American Medical Response (AMR) of Las Vegas today received a 10-day notice of strike from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local #1107, just two weeks after its contract expired. John Wilson, AMR General Manager, said, "This is an over-reaction by the union. We are, quite frankly, stunned by the union's actions. Our contract just expired two weeks ago."
The union has notified AMR that employees will strike beginning Friday, November 28, at 6:00 a.m. PST.
Talks between the company and union stalled when Local #1107 attempted to transfer total contractual coverage and responsibility of all contract bargaining to the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics (IAEP) Local #5000. According to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), AMR cannot legally bargain with IAEP Local #5000. SEIU claims it is ready to bargain, but they continue to insist on bringing IAEP to the bargaining table. The company is trying to assure it does not violate federal labor law by negotiating with representatives of two unions.
AMR has offered to drop all unfair labor charges and return to the bargaining table if the unions would do the same. However, SEIU Local #1107 and IAEP Local #5000 have refused to drop their charges so that negotiations with SEIU Local #1107 can move forward.
"The company believes that all its employees have the right to choose who represents them," said Wilson. AMR has asked the NLRB to resolve the matter, and is seeking an expedited election which would allow employees to vote on which group should represent them. IAEP has blocked an NLRB election by filing an Unfair Labor Practices charge against AMR.
"We are not refusing to negotiate. We are simply trying to determine which union we can legally bargain with. If the service agreement between SEIU and IAEP is found to be legal, AMR will immediately return to the bargaining table to negotiate a new contract," Wilson continued. "We have plans to meet with the NLRB next week and we are confident that we can resolve the issue before any work action takes place," he concluded.
AMR has alerted appropriate City and County emergency medical services (EMS) officials that a strike notice was received from the union, and has advised officials of its plans to provide services to Las Vegas in the event of a strike.
Wilson said, "AMR will continue to provide services in the event of a work action. We have notified local officials of our plans to staff ambulances and to provide services. Our company has extensive experience in the rapid deployment of paramedics to communities in need."
Less than half of the local AMR workforce are members of the union. AMR will supplement the local staff who do report to work with licensed paramedics from other operations, to respond to 9-1-1 calls in the event of a strike. "We will partner these licensed caregivers with our local employees who are familiar with the community to assure high quality care," Wilson added.
AMR stands committed to its employees and the community it serves and is hopeful for a speedy decision from the NLRB to resolve this issue.
American Medical Response Inc. (www.amr.net), America's leading provider of medical transportation, is locally operated in 40 states and the District of Columbia. AMR's 18,500 paramedics, EMTs and other professionals transport more than four million patients nationwide each year in critical, emergency and non-emergency situations. Operating a fleet of approximately 4,500 vehicles, AMR, a subsidiary of Emergency Medical Services Corporation, is headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colo.