TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pittsburgh paramedics to decide whether to authorize strike

Daily Photo Galleries

Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 7:34 p.m.
 

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 bbauder@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Steelers re-sign WR Heyward-Bey to 1-year deal
  2. Alone at controls, co-pilot sought to ‘destroy’ the plane
  3. Pitt adds quarterback recruit from Cincinnati
  4. 3 names removed from Springdale ballot
  5. Allegheny DA to seek death penalty in Crawford Village homicide
  6. Washington County probation officer sues for being fired after talking to investigators
  7. Aliquippa student caught bringing gun to school
  8. OSHA fines East Deer company in aftermath of worker’s electrocution
  9. Conventions for barbershop quartets, police, veterans visiting Pittsburgh in 2015
  10. Ford City woman injured in crash
  11. Moon’s Calipari had hoops in heart since childhood