Unity is more than a buzzword, it is necessary for the future of EMS
Words like Unity and Solidarity have been around as long as labor unions have existed. From the birth of labor unions in the early 1900’s through today, Unity and Solidarity helped bring about change, as workers united and demanded fair treatment and safe work conditions from their employers. The National Labor Relations Act, first passed into law in 1933, helped create conditions where with the help of labor unions, people could earn decent livable wages, and work in safe conditions. Because of unity and solidarity in the labor movement, Americans have a 40 hour work week, overtime pay, weekends, paid holidays, and so much more.
Unity is not just a buzzword for EMS, still in its childhood years as a career. In 1966, the United States Department of Transportation published its White Paper, a study on accidental death and disability, trauma and mortality. From that 1966 paper, pre-hospital emergency medical services systems began to develop. Pilot projects and experiments in out of hospital medicine mark the landscape as EMS has slowly grown and changed. 48 years later, EMS is still evolving while EMS workers struggle to get by on wages that in no way compensate for their incredible talent, skill, devotion, and worth. Some say EMS working conditions and safety have not improved appreciably in the last 20 years.
In order for EMS Professionals to take the next step, for EMS systems to continue to grow and evolve in a way that honors the EMS Professionals who work within them; labor unions are necessary. EMS Professionals need to be represented by strong unions that seek to better member’s lives, wages, benefits, and working conditions. But beyond the local labor union, other unions and all of organized labor need to be unified in supporting EMS Professionals and the very important work that you do.
Unity means just that, to be united. Solidarity means to stand as one, in unity. And all of organized labor together, standing in unity and solidarity, can move EMS Professionals forward. To create that drive, you need to have a labor union with the ability to reach beyond its own walls. NAGE represents EMS and public safety workers in IAEP, NAGE EMS, and NAGE Federal locals around the country. As an affiliate of 2.1 million member SEIU, and a member of the “Change to Win Coalition”, NAGE has the resources, relationships, and ability to provide Unity and Solidarity for EMS Professionals.
Together we can move EMS and public safety forward. Locally, within your IAEP/NAGE EMS/NAGE Federal shop we can be unified in purpose. Nationally, NAGE can and does work with other labor unions to create a better EMS environment.
EMS as a profession is still young. Unity is needed as NAGE and other labor unions transform EMS from low paying work to meaningful careers. Every step forward is one step closer to our goal. Remember to stay unified and together we can move EMS to a new and better place.