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Sawant Statement in Solidarity with Strike Call by ‘Talented, Self-sacrificing’ EMTs

Points Out ‘City Establishment’s ‘callous indifference’’

Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle) shared an open letter addressed to Mayor Jenny Durkan following the announcement by Seattle-area emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who plan to strike beginning December 21.

Excerpts from Sawant’s letter, directed to Mayor Jenny Durkan, include:

“…Your administration recently granted a monopoly contract renewal for Basic Life Support Emergency Services with American Medical Response (AMR), which threatens to put both emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and patients in crisis. I am writing to find out what you are doing to fix the situation immediately.”

And:

“The company’s intransigent bargaining position with the Teamsters, made possible by your complete failure to follow the direction of Resolution 31831, is now placing the life of every Seattleite needing Basic Life Support services at risk.”

Plus:

“The expired contract with AMR required the company to pay the City $509,000 annually ‘to cover the City’s costs of administering the Agreement…’ (Section 11.2 of prior contract). That section appears to have been dropped in the new City-AMR contract.”

In closing:

“Your administration has negotiated a sweetheart deal with a for-profit corporation that refuses to pay workers decently, many of whom have been surviving on subsistence wages for years, and is showing a callous indifference for the health and safety of Seattleites…”

In August, American Medical Response (AMR) outrageously signaled an intent to pull out of emergency services offered in Seattle if the members of the Teamsters Local 763 did not accept the collective bargaining agreement proposed by the company.

Sawant stood with members of the labor movement and EMTs who work for AMR, the nationwide for-profit corporation that employs the 430 basic life support workers who serve the City of Seattle by introducing Resolution 31831, which was adopted by Council, and effectively rejected the substandard wages and benefits for AMR’s workers and called on the Mayor to ‘…include in The City of Seattle’s contract for Basic Life Support Emergency Services provisions that contractors and their subcontractors: 1) pay EMTs in Seattle the prevailing wage similar to the wage paid to EMTs in cities of comparable size and cost of living and 2) provide mental health and healthcare benefits comparable to other emergency workers employed in similar sectors in the City of Seattle.’

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