Independence EMS union gets partial victory in dispute with American Medical Response

Source: Andy Marso, Kansas City Star, May 12, 2017
The Independence and South Platte emergency medical services union will get some of what it has asked for in its long-running contract dispute with American Medical Response. But the bulk of the fight still lies ahead.  Members of the EMS Workers United-Local 1812, which represents emergency medical technicians, paramedics and dispatchers, have been circulating petitions to require Colorado-based AMR to regularly report employee turnover data to Independence officials.  They planned to present the petitions to the Independence City Council at its meeting Monday. … Warth said the turnover data will be presented monthly at meetings of the emergency services committee, which includes representatives of the Independence police, fire, AMR and Centerpoint Medical Center.  The committee meets every second Thursday. Robert Mills, a member of the EMS Workers United-Local 1812 bargaining team, said he was at the May meeting Thursday morning and no mention was made of the new data-sharing agreement. …


Union, AMR at odds over turnover rate
Source: Mike Genet, Examiner, April 2, 2016

Members of the EMS Workers United-American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1812, which has been in contract negotiations with AMR for a year, say their turnover rate is too high due in part to fatigue and burnout from too many extra-long shifts – potentially putting patients at risk. They want the city’s health department and Emergency Services Committee that advises Health Director Andrew Warlen to have access to employee satisfaction and turnover data on a regular basis. Such a transfer of information is not uncommon in other municipalities contracted with AMR, they say. Furthermore, they believe Warlen is within his authority in the city code to request it. On March 23 the union filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board to obtain employee satisfaction information for themselves from the ambulance company. …

EMT union claims high turnover rate, seeking additional oversight
Source: Andres Gutierrezz, KSHB, March 30, 2016

The union that represents emergency service technicians with the American Medical Response (AMR) are in a dispute with the city of Independence and the company.  EMS Workers United-AFSCME said the city isn’t asking tough questions and the company isn’t being transparent, that they say that could put lives in danger. … According to her union, the employee turnover rate last year was 23 percent twice the national average. … In Independence, the city’s health director monitors response times monthly. Union members want him to do more that. “That’s currently the only metric that the city is measuring, then we’re not getting a full picture of our emergency care here,” Robert Mills, an EMT at AMR, said. … But the union points to ordinance SEC. 19.04.004. A.1 in the city’s code that allows the health director to request more reports in additional to response times.

Little progress has been made in Independence ambulance service labor dispute
Source: Rick Hellman, Kansas City Star, February 26, 2016

It’s been 18 months since employees of American Medical Response’s Independence and South Platte Ambulance service voted to unionize and a year since their representatives began bargaining with the nationwide health care conglomerate. … The workers and their representatives complain that these emergency professionals are paid less than similar workers in the area, are required to be on call even on days off and suffer greater-than-average turnover, which threatens patient care. … Warlen noted that the city simply licenses the local ambulance service, but “the code does not give us management authority over how they manage their operation. We do have an emergency services committee that meets monthly and has representatives from the health department, the police and fire departments, and the hospital. We go over response times as part of that. The focus is really patient outcomes.” Any failure to respond to calls within certain periods of time triggers fines, Warlen said, and those totals have gone down each month during the past year he has been health director.