Nov 10, 2015


QUINCY, MA – Members of the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics in Manatee County, Florida will soon be asking the residents they serve to support them in the fight for a living wage and better working conditions. IAEP Director Phil Petit believes that, when residents learn the truth about the way their local lifesavers are treated, they’ll support them in a heartbeat.

“Nobody wants to call 9-1-1 for anything, but if you need to, you’re glad somebody answers the call,” said Petit. “When people find out that EMTs and paramedics often work for obscenely low wages under awful conditions, they’re horrified. We hope that they’ll support the people who save the lives of their loved ones by calling for a fair, livable wage.”

Local IAEP representative Ken Skaggs said that the Manatee County bargaining unit has been at the table for over two years. While other county employees have received raises of 12 percent over the last three years, EMTs in Manatee County had a one percent raise on the table. “These individuals, who are educated and over-worked, are making less than 10 dollars an hour. That’s an extra four dollars a week for people tasked with saving lives, on the side of the road, or racing to a hospital, or at the scene of a tragedy.”

“The fact that EMTs and paramedics are being paid so far below the national average is unconscionable,” added Petit. “Homeowners in Manatee need to know that this makes their communities less safe. If I lived there, I would be outraged.”

EMTs and paramedics are considering a public outreach campaign to educate local residents about the work they do and the way that low wages impact public safety.

Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected. - Samuel Gompers
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