Ambulance crew leaves ATU 757 for independent union

Portland-area workers at American Medical Response voted to disaffiliate from their locally-based union and instead join a relatively new union that has its office in Sacramento, California.

In votes tallied March 16, 298 opted for the stand-alone National Emergency Medical Services Association, while 74 wanted to remain with Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 757, AFL-CIO.

ATU has represented paramedics, emergency medical technicians and dispatchers at the unit since 1988, and has won substantial improvements, including a 30 percent wage increase in the last contract.

ATU continues to represent a group of AMR workers in Josephine County, Oregon. Those workers are in a different bargaining unit.

AMR-Northwest was the only ambulance unit represented by ATU, which otherwise represents transit employees. In its appeal to the AMR workers, NEMSA promoted itself as a union just for emergency medical service professionals. NEMSA has grown mostly by “raiding” already-unionized units.

Because the group switched unions, the ATU-bargained contract expired March 23.

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