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UPDATE: Local EMTs, paramedics end strike

Company, union agree to four-year deal.

Posted: May 2, 2008 2:20 a.m.
Updated: July 3, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Just days after ambulance drivers and medics walked off the job, paramedics and emergency medical technicians agreed to a new agreement on Thursday morning, ending a three-day strike. With the strike officially over, normal paramedic and EMT service will resume throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

A labor agreement between American Medical Response, a private medical transportation and emergency care service, and the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics has tentatively been reached, according to AMR spokesman Jason Sorrick.

The new agreement brings an end to a strike that started on Monday morning in Lancaster and Palmdale by IAEP Locals 77 and 187, which represents local paramedics and EMTs.

"The strike is over," Sorrick said. "Our employees are coming back to work."

Striking paramedics are expected to return to their normal shifts no later than this evening.

"After several months of talks, we have reached an agreement we believe is equitable for all parties," said Matthew Levy, IAEP national director. "We expect employees to fully ratify the agreement in the next few weeks."

According to the terms of the new agreement, employee wages will increase five percent over each of the next four years. The initial 5 percent increase will be retroactive to November 2007. Additionally, American Medical Response will make no changes to health care benefits through 2008.

More than 60 Santa Clarita Valley paramedics and emergency medical technicians were among those who rejected American Medical Response's most recent offer last week. They carried through with a planned strike Monday morning after both sides failed to come to an agreement over health benefits.

Employees had moved up the strike date from May 2 to April 28 after claiming negativity on the part of management.

Members of the IAEP Locals 187 and 77 formally began picketing on Monday morning in Lancaster and Irwindale, and paramedics and EMTs in the Santa Clarita Valley joined the strike. Approximately 300 employees are on strike nationwide, with more than 60 pickets in Irwindale, and approximately 30 in Lancaster. EMT employees from the Santa Clarita Valley are connected to the Lancaster location.

As part of the new agreement, both management and union representatives agreed not to pursue any claims that resulted during the strike.

Other affected areas included the Antelope and San Gabriel valleys.


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