Wash. fire dept. prepares for AMR EMT strike
The Seattle Fire Department is working on a contingency plan in case AMR EMTs authorize a strike in protest of low wages
SEATTLE — A fire department is developing a contingency plan in case American Medical Response EMTs decide to go on a strike.
KIRO 7 reported that the Seattle Fire Department is preparing to work around a potential strike by AMR EMTs, who are currently voting on whether or not to accept an offer from AMR or to protest their low wages.
If a strike occurs, Seattle Medic One would handle more non-emergent calls, meaning the fire department would have fewer resources for emergencies.
"The Seattle Fire Department is committed to providing ongoing quality care to the community of Seattle," the department said in a statement. "We are exploring various contingency options."
Seattle City Council recently passed a resolution to ask that the mayor press for living wages for EMTs in a new contract with AMR.
A recent letter from AMR to its employees said the company is offering a new starting wage of $17 per hour, a 9.39 percent increase from the current starting wage of $15.54 an hour.
However, union members said the company pays an average starting wage of $19.40 an hour in other comparable cities.
"The future of the Seattle Fire contract … is at stake," the AMR letter said. “Operation has been losing money for several years. Any work action … will cause the company to exit … the Seattle Fire District contract."
Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office said the city “hopes they are able to find a resolution.”
“The mayor believes in a contract that supports AMR workers while ensuring that AMR can manage costs for patients in Seattle. The city is and will continue to provide timely, responsive emergency medical services.”