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Local American Medical Response Staff Choose USW

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The United Steelworkers (USW) recently said that 457 employees of American Medical Response in Redlands and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. have voted in favor of having the USW recognized as their exclusive bargaining representative.

USW International Vice President Fred Redmond, who chairs the USW Health Care Workers Council, welcomed them to the ranks of the nearly 10,000 council members the USW already represents in California which include Kaiser, Long Beach Memorial. Oak Valley, Oroville, and City of Hope Hospitals and other EMS members including ProTransport 1, Manteca District Ambulance, West Side Ambulance, and the Turlock Emergency Medical Services Association.

“These dedicated professionals provide the highest quality service to their communities, and the USW is proud to represent such a talented group of hardworking men and women,” Redmond said.

“Although the AMR San Bernardino County paramedics and EMTs rank among the highest in annual call volume of any division in the state, the Redlands and Rancho divisions have been two of the lowest compensated.”

AMR workers can look forward to changing that in negotiations for their first union contract.

“Emergency medicine is my calling,” said AMR paramedic employee Harry Stone. "I feel this should be a career – not a stepping stone.”

“I've found my purpose and formed friendships with the finest people I've ever known,” Stone said, “and it breaks my heart to see so many quality individuals leave for ‘better’ jobs.”

EMT Al Canchola, in his sixth year with AMR, said that he expects union-negotiated benefits to help retain experienced and committed employees who are better-qualified to serve the emergency needs of the communities involved.

“I want the opportunity to improve the company, the environment for our patients and for our own families,” Canchola said. “Our neighbors in greater San Bernardino deserve and expect only the best emergency care, and they know they can count on us.”

The USW, on the web at http://www.usw.org, represents 1.2 million active and retired workers in a wide variety of workplaces, including the health care industry, mining, manufacturing steel and other metals, rubber, glass, paper and chemicals and oil refining as well as the public sector.

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