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As Strike Looms, Sawant Calls on Durkan to Bring All Emergency Medical Services In-House

Declares intent to join picket line Friday, demands end to ‘contracting out our safety net’

Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle) shared excerpts from an open letter addressed to Mayor and Council underscoring her support of Seattle-area emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who plan to strike beginning December 21, and her intention to join their picket line at noon on Friday (13075 Gateway Drive in Tukwila).

Sawant, noting that Union leadership (representing the Seattle Fire Department) is now calling on the City to bring all emergency medical services in-house if there is a strike, declared in her open letter that such a move should be permanent, to protect the public and workers:

“Seattle stands hours away from losing Basic Life Support services as a result of a toxic combination of big business greed and a corporate political establishment that uses contracting out as an excuse for dodging its responsibilities to the city’s residents…

“…The 430 emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who serve our city with distinction and self-sacrifice, and who are proud members of Teamsters Local 763, are on the verge of striking. It is a courageous strike provoked only after months of fruitless negotiations with their for-profit employer, American Medical Response (AMR)

AND:

“…This is exactly why Seattleites should demand that the City stop relying on private, for-profit companies for emergency services. We do not contract out our fire services or advanced life support services. Our premiere emergency medical facility in the region, the Harborview Medical Center, is publicly owned. Our water and electrical services are publicly owned and controlled. These resources are designed to serve people, not make profits. It makes absolutely no sense to contract out the emergency medical technicians who staff ambulances around our city, provide life-saving care every day, and work shoulder to shoulder with the City’s fire and hospital professionals.

PLUS:

“…That is why I am issuing a call today to Mayor Durkan and the other members of the City Council to publicly join with me in asking the Seattle Fire Department to prepare a plan and budget for bringing Basic Life Support Services in-house, with seniority and Teamster union rights protected for all the workers, and with wages and benefits to be commensurate with Fire Department standards.

IN CLOSING:

“…I urge everyone to join me on the picket line in solidarity with the brave emergency medical technicians, and to organize to bring these services in-house where they belong.”

In August, American Medical Response (AMR) 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.  Last fall, Sawant introduced Resolution 31831, which was adopted by Council, and effectively rejected the substandard wages and benefits for AMR’s workers.

 

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