Pittsburgh paramedics to decide whether to authorize strike
Pittsburgh paramedics will either accept a new contract offer from the city on Friday or vote to authorize a strike, a union official said.
The Fraternal Association of Professional Paramedics Local 1, which represents about 160 Pittsburgh paramedics, has been working for two years without a contract. Members said they are unhappy with the latest offer from the city, especially a proposal to move rescue operations traditionally performed by paramedics to the fire department.
“We'll either be voting for (the contract) or to take a strike authorization vote,” union President Anthony Weinmann said, declining further comment until after the vote.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has set aside $13.3 million, which includes $12.6 million for salaries, in his 2013 budget for emergency medical services. The amount represents an increase of about $500,000 over 2012. Total salaries would increase by about $300,000.
Mayoral spokeswoman Joanna Doven declined comment. City Council and the city's state financial oversight agency must approve the budget.
Paramedics Ian Frankel and David Morris said they were leaning toward voting for the strike authorization because the city's contract offer “stinks.”
Frankel, 61, a city paramedic for 35 years, said EMS personnel have exclusively performed swiftwater rescue, elevator rescue and extrication for traffic accidents during his entire career.
In recent years, though, the city has been training firefighters to do many of the same duties.
All new firefighters are now certified as emergency medical technicians. All public safety personnel, including police officers, also are trained in water rescue operations. Firefighters underwent training in rescues from vehicle crashes. The city has about 600 firefighters.
“They think since there's more firemen, they can get to an accident quicker, but they're not trained like we are,” Frankel said. “They use brute force. We're trained in finesse.”
Joe King, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1, which represents Pittsburgh firefighters, declined comment.
Morris, 53, a 21-year veteran, said EMS workers are the hardest-working public safety employees, but their union has less political power than those representing police and firefighters.
“This contract is just another slap in the face to us,” Morris said.
Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Aliquippa parents charged in deaths of daughters
- Rossi: Johnston must reach Malkin in Moscow
- Steelers are in familiar territory going into training camp in Latrobe
- Uber, Lyft can operate legally in Allegheny County — for now
- Official: Air Algerie flight ‘probably crashed’
- Interest high for Heinz Field soccer match between top Euro teams
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Brookline Boulevard paving project finally finished
- Pirates notebook: Recovering Cole exceeds expectations in simulated game
- Wesco posts higher profit, lowers full year outlook
- Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15