News Section: Manatee County
Manatee EMS Workers Air Their Grievances to BOCC
Unionization may loom
BRADENTON -- Emergency Medical Services employees have reached their tipping point. Unpredictable schedules, mixed messages and a lack of compassion for their private life were among the complaints EMS employees conveyed to the Manatee County Commission Tuesday afternoon when they joined together for a workshop at the Manatee County Public Safety Center.
Many of the complaints were not about salary, promotion or seniority, but planning their day off to spend time with their kids; being home to meet the cable guy, or having to plan their vacation a year in advance, as well as frequently having to drop what they have planned to do on any given day in order to fill-in for an absent employee.
Manatee County Commissioners asked to meet with EMS workers last October when complaints arose following the county's budget hearings. EMS employees are on a 24/48 hour schedule, which makes it impossible for all workers to show up for just one meeting, but over 30 showed to air their grievances.
A request to the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics was signed by four out of five of the almost 120 Manatee's EMS workers who are seeking collective bargaining rights. County attorneys cautioned commissioners against any action that might interfere with those procedures; for fear any action would be seen as "unfair labor practices."
The eligible employees will have the state Public Employee Relations Commission in Tallahassee counting their votes on Dec. 19, to decide whether unionizing will be the way to go.