Associations and Unions not doing enough for EMS?

ExpatMedic0

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I was thinking... Firefighters and Nurses pay/benefits are considerably more than EMS in the USA. Do you think the root of this is the International Association of Fire Fighters and the American Nurses Association, along with other professional groups? If not, then how do you think these professions obtained higher pay, education, job security, and benefits?

Is the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians failing somewhere at something? Could EMS and the NAEMT learn something from other professional associations like the ones I mentioned above.

Thoughts, opinions?
 
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Veneficus

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NAEMT is absolutely not worth giving money to.

When you look at many of its position statements, they say a lot of nothing.

Because of the conflict of interest between fire wanting EMS to be another technical cert for an all hazards response unit and bringing EMS into the modern age, permitting fire membership as well as permitting IAFF members to hold officer positions has made the organization utterly impotent.

If you are hoping they will do anything for EMS except promote the status quo, you are definately misguided.

The problem isn't really unionization. The problem is lack of professional identity. A profession cannot be simply a patch to sew onto another industry's uniform.
 
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ExpatMedic0

ExpatMedic0

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Do you think another organization could emerge and succeed the NAEMT? I don't like pointing fingers, but it sure feels good to do! Especially when your professional advocacy groups and bodies are not getting results for your profession, despite 30-40 years of existence.
 

NYMedic828

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As far as EMS vs police/fire you also have to look at how society views it.

When most people think of a cop or firefighter they think of someone who risks their lives on a daily basis serving the public.

When people think of EMS, they still feel they serve the public but you also get people who think EMS is just a taxi service as opposed to a noble calling.

The way the public views us is is quite the bargaining chip in the popularity department considering the money ultimately comes from the people we serve.
 
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Bullets

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To add to NYM, Police are viewed as a necessity because they "fight crime" which is a social problem. Crime drives down property values, increases insurance, increases taxes to fund more police, causes declines in schools, in the physical appearance of the community and the public perception of the community. Perfect example in NJ is Hoboken. It used to be classified as an Abbot district with Newark, Jersey City, Camden, ect. This meant they had major problems that required more hands on management from the state, including increased funding for schools and State Police patrols to combat the high crime rate. It has now become a bedroom community for NYC, with lots of expensive lofts, wealthy Wall Streeters, and ambitious young people. Yet it still combats the perception that Hoboken is "rough" or "bad" that it gained 20-30 years ago.


Fire is also a social problem. Fire destroys indiscriminately and can wipe out entire developments and communities. Long response times to a single house fire creates multiple houses burning This brings those communities together. This is why extension and exposure are hit topics in fire suppression. Quality fire protection and a high ISO rating can also drive down insurance rates and increase property value.

What does EMS do? When people get sick, it isnt a social event, its a personal event. neighbors might feel sad the old guy on the block had a heart attack and died, but his death doesn't affect the community as a whole. If EMS has long response times, it doesnt cause everyone on the block to have a heart attack. Disease also doesnt affect the community equally. Those that can afford their own health insurance or have good insurance through their employers rarely patronize EMS. My system predominately deals with the uninsured and those on medicare. The only times we deal with the well-insured is when they have a real emergency, a heart attack, a stroke, a Traumatic (big T) accident. They have primary physicians they can contact for the abdominal pains, the leg pain, the headache and they can get regular check-ups and physicals. The uninsured dont, they only contact a medical provider once they are sick

EMS only shines when a major disaster hits. NJ EMS stood out during Sandy, but i dont think anyone wants that to happen again. Its during events like that where EMS can show the public and politicians that we do matter, that we do good work and are just as willing to jump in the water as any fireman or cop, and we usually do it better
 

Summit

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Pretty much what Vene, NYM, and bullets said.
 

EpiEMS

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What does EMS do? When people get sick, it isnt a social event, its a personal event. neighbors might feel sad the old guy on the block had a heart attack and died, but his death doesn't affect the community as a whole.

This is a really sensible explanation. Compare US EMS to EMS in the UK and Australia (i.e. non-physician staffed systems in countries with national health services).
 

reaper

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Has to start at a community level. You want to stay in an area that looks down on EMS, then you deal with it. Or, move somewhere that cares about it.

Our medics make more then police or sheriff deputies. FD pay is a joke around here. They start very low.

I always tell people. Find a service you want to work for and go there. If unwilling to move, then your stuck with what you have.

Until EMS associations work for us and not for what FD or Nursing wants, it will never go anywhere.

I am the first to say no to unions. Associations can work, but must be structured to succeed and must have the backing of the people it serves.
 
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ExpatMedic0

ExpatMedic0

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Some really interesting points. I also like the society discussion mentioned above, but this statement does not hold truth in a lot of other countries where EMS found a way to develop and surpass the USA years ago. We are living in the Dark Ages of EMS in USA. Someone is selling EMS, specifically Paramedicine, to society and the government a hell of a lot better than we are in the states.

For example, a survey of the most trusted and respected professions was conducted in the UK. The British people chose "Paramedic" as #1.
 
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NYMedic828

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For example, a survey of the most trusted and respected professions was conducted in the UK. The British people chose "Paramedic" as #1.

Well we knew it wouldn't be dentists.:rofl:
 

Veneficus

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Someone is selling EMS, specifically Paramedicine, to society and the government a hell of a lot better than we are in the states..

I wouldn't say somebody was selling it.

They set up their systems to provide a valuable service. They demand the level of knowledge in order to perform that service, and it is successful.

I have argued the sociological value before, and I will point out in the UK, providing healthcare to their populous is a shared value of society.
 

Bullets

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Some really interesting points. I also like the society discussion mentioned above, but this statement does not hold truth in a lot of other countries where EMS found a way to develop and surpass the USA years ago. We are living in the Dark Ages of EMS in USA. Someone is selling EMS, specifically Paramedicine, to society and the government a hell of a lot better than we are in the states.

For example, a survey of the most trusted and respected professions was conducted in the UK. The British people chose "Paramedic" as #1.

Unlike these other countries, the US as a society hasnt view public healthcare as a "thing" the government should provide. The way this country formed placed most of the onus of success on the individual and didnt stress public health. Even today as the government tries to implement a socialized system there is resistance from all sides, including within the medical community.

Change will come at the local level, not the national level
 

46Young

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Has to start at a community level. You want to stay in an area that looks down on EMS, then you deal with it. Or, move somewhere that cares about it.

Our medics make more then police or sheriff deputies. FD pay is a joke around here. They start very low.

I always tell people. Find a service you want to work for and go there. If unwilling to move, then your stuck with what you have.

Until EMS associations work for us and not for what FD or Nursing wants, it will never go anywhere.

I am the first to say no to unions. Associations can work, but must be structured to succeed and must have the backing of the people it serves.

That sounds accurate for SC. In Charleston, in 2007 when I worked there, the county medics were making $45k/yr after making crew chief. Cops were in the 30's, and the FF's were in the low 20's to low 30's. I agree that you need to move in order to work for a department that fits your standards. That's why I left for a better paying/benefits firemedic job in Virginia.

As far as unions, I have to disagree. When I worked in Charleston, it was very clear to me that the employee is at county's mercy. Their operational policies, paid time off policies, holdover/recall policies and such were not to my liking. Contrast that to my current career, which has an IAFF local. We have 36 hours max hours worked, we have a "No hold/recall" list that we fill out to be exempt for the purpose of education, a doctor's appointment, travel plans, etc. Discipline is progressive and step based, the same standard for all. We don't have to go available out of the hospital until we finish our ePCR. Promotional exams are objective and we're ranked on score, no favoritism. The county wanted to RIF (lay off) 90 or so positions in 2009, not too long after I graduated. That got squashed. No forced demotions. No brownouts/blackouts. We got a raise this year, after several without increases, only because the Union stepped up to facilitate that change. Lately, the county exec wanted to implement a program called "STRIVE." In a nutshell, he wanted to either stretch out all step increases to every two years rather than every year. That got knocked down. He wants to mess with our pensions, so we're going against that as well. My Union dues were paid back many times over already. If this were to have occurred in Charleston, we'd have been a bunch of unemployed people, or at the least, taking a pay cut by proxy, since inflation continues, but the raises don't.
 

Veneficus

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As far as unions, I have to disagree. When I worked in Charleston, it was very clear to me that the employee is at county's mercy. Their operational policies, paid time off policies, holdover/recall policies and such were not to my liking. Contrast that to my current career, which has an IAFF local. We have 36 hours max hours worked, we have a "No hold/recall" list that we fill out to be exempt for the purpose of education, a doctor's appointment, travel plans, etc. Discipline is progressive and step based, the same standard for all. We don't have to go available out of the hospital until we finish our ePCR. Promotional exams are objective and we're ranked on score, no favoritism. The county wanted to RIF (lay off) 90 or so positions in 2009, not too long after I graduated. That got squashed. No forced demotions. No brownouts/blackouts. We got a raise this year, after several without increases, only because the Union stepped up to facilitate that change. Lately, the county exec wanted to implement a program called "STRIVE." In a nutshell, he wanted to either stretch out all step increases to every two years rather than every year. That got knocked down. He wants to mess with our pensions, so we're going against that as well. My Union dues were paid back many times over already. If this were to have occurred in Charleston, we'd have been a bunch of unemployed people, or at the least, taking a pay cut by proxy, since inflation continues, but the raises don't.

But I will point out you are a firefighter working for a fire department.

There are landmark cases where non-fire EMS providers belonged to an IAFF local and when fire departments wanted to take over EMS the union basically told the EMS locals, "too bad, so sad, we protect firefighters," of course without returning any dues.

There are also many cases where FD controlled EMS employees are not part of the IAFF local. If they were, there would have to be wage and benefit parody.

I regret to say, most EMS unions do not have the power to really make demands in today's EMS market.

Unions that have no concept of EMS, like AFSCME, barely take note of their EMS providers problems.

The only non-IAFF union I see being beneficial to EMS are Teamsters.
 

reaper

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That sounds accurate for SC. In Charleston, in 2007 when I worked there, the county medics were making $45k/yr after making crew chief. Cops were in the 30's, and the FF's were in the low 20's to low 30's. I agree that you need to move in order to work for a department that fits your standards. That's why I left for a better paying/benefits firemedic job in Virginia.

As far as unions, I have to disagree. When I worked in Charleston, it was very clear to me that the employee is at county's mercy. Their operational policies, paid time off policies, holdover/recall policies and such were not to my liking. Contrast that to my current career, which has an IAFF local. We have 36 hours max hours worked, we have a "No hold/recall" list that we fill out to be exempt for the purpose of education, a doctor's appointment, travel plans, etc. Discipline is progressive and step based, the same standard for all. We don't have to go available out of the hospital until we finish our ePCR. Promotional exams are objective and we're ranked on score, no favoritism. The county wanted to RIF (lay off) 90 or so positions in 2009, not too long after I graduated. That got squashed. No forced demotions. No brownouts/blackouts. We got a raise this year, after several without increases, only because the Union stepped up to facilitate that change. Lately, the county exec wanted to implement a program called "STRIVE." In a nutshell, he wanted to either stretch out all step increases to every two years rather than every year. That got knocked down. He wants to mess with our pensions, so we're going against that as well. My Union dues were paid back many times over already. If this were to have occurred in Charleston, we'd have been a bunch of unemployed people, or at the least, taking a pay cut by proxy, since inflation continues, but the raises don't.

I agree about Charleston. We agree about finding a service that meets your standards. Far as the rest, we are non union and have or do all you listed. Only thing different is we have received raises for last five years, without asking or having to negotiate for it. The county gave them by their own accord.

I see more change at state level associations, then anywhere else.
 

DrParasite

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I love my union. They require me to pay dues, they cause my overall takehome to be better, and more often than not they ask management to do what is right instead of demanding them to do what is right, and the shop stewards know they can't make too much of a stink because they still have their career to look, and they got me a 0.17 a year raise in the last contract negotiation.

I have worked in a non-union shop, and now work in a union shop. I make less money, but at least i know that I can't be disciplined arbitrarily. At least now when my supervisor tries to right me up for BS, or for something that isn't my fault, I have the union who will stand up for me and tell them "nope, you can't do that."

People need to keep in mind Police and Fire are often 100% tax funded, which is why they get paid so well. EMS not so much. not only that, but if you are 100% tax funded, and paid well, you are often outsourced to a for-profit private company for a 1/3 of the cost, to save money (seen it happen several times). I can't recall the last police department or fire department that was outsourced to a private company.

in EMS, most people are treated as replaceable by management. don't like your job? go somewhere else, I can have you replaced in 2 weeks. PDs and FDs usually want to train you their way, so they invest time and money into you, which makes them a little hesitant to get rid of you at a drop of a hat.

Lastly, a union is only as strong as the contract it has. if your negotiators do a :censored::censored::censored::censored:ty job, and sign a horrible contract (or aren't able to sign a contract), than they aren't going to be able to help you improve conditions.
 
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ExpatMedic0

ExpatMedic0

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Does anyone know of any other national associations or origination helping to advocate or advance EMS other than NAEMT? One that is not affiliated with Fire or LE in anyway?
 

epipusher

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I work for a service that has a union in a Right to Work state. Therefore, I get all the same benefits as the union members without having to pay dues. The benefits are nothing to brag about, but they don't cost me any money.
 

Veneficus

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I work for a service that has a union in a Right to Work state. Therefore, I get all the same benefits as the union members without having to pay dues. The benefits are nothing to brag about, but they don't cost me any money.

After my last union job, if I never see another again it will be too soon.

No way to get rid of dregs, I couldn't even get a letter of recommendation on company letterhead because the union demanded that "satisfactory or unsatisfactory" were the only 2 ways to describe employees.

That was in a "fair share" state where even if you don't belong to the union you have to pay dues because you "benefit" from them.

There are good and bad to unions, some locals are better than others.
 
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