ST. LOUIS, Aug. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Following a November 2019 representation election and intense negotiations that were interrupted by COVID-19 and completed virtually, dispatchers and call takers at AMR's East Region Communication Center (a/k/a Abbott Ambulance) overwhelmingly voted, 50-2, to approve a first collective bargaining agreement on Friday, August 21, 2020. The new 3-year agreement immediately improves terms and conditions of work, including:
Substantial annual raises for all employees and elimination of a top-out cap on wages;
$1,000 ratification bonus for each employee;
Increases to the new hire starting wage by $3/hour;
More affordable health insurance that includes an FSA or HSA for each employee (with company contributions);
Two additional paid holidays, which honor MLK Jr. Day and Veterans Day;
PTO accrual at a faster rate and increased PTO accrual for long-term employees, and for the first time part-time employees earn PTO;
Company-paid short-term disability and long-term disability;
Perfect-attendance bonuses of up to $900/year;
Paid lunches; and
Seniority and a real grievance procedure, with a just-cause provision.
Teamsters Local 610 President Jeff Hall, a licensed paramedic and former dispatcher himself, hailed the efforts and tenacity of his four-person negotiating committee who "really stuck to their guns." He also lauded the consistent support the local has received from Teamsters Health Care Division Director Nina Bugbee, who supported last year's organizing effort, attended several negotiating sessions and enlisted the support of Carin Zelenko, Director of the Teamsters Capital Strategies Department. Hall firmly believes their combined efforts helped push the company to reach an agreement with Teamsters Local 610 on the final sticking points.
"This was a very difficult negotiation that stretched all of our patience, skills and abilities, but we finally reached an agreement of which we can all be proud," Hall said. "We are very pleased to be able to improve the terms and conditions for these 50-plus hardworking new Teamsters, who support first responders in four states."
"We feel really good about this contract," said Judy Holmes, a Local 610 member and member of the bargaining committee at ERCC/Abbott. "We felt strongly that the things we were negotiating for were to help everyone. All the good things in this contract will help us keep people and close the revolving door, which is good for the company. None of the raises or better health insurance would have been possible without our union and our negotiations."
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.