Private Equity Investors Put Profits Over Public Safety

Teamsters Warn: Emergency Medical Services at Risk in Western New York

Jun 28, 2013, 19:54 ET from Teamsters Local 375

BUFFALO, N.Y., June 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Local 375 Teamsters who work as paramedics and emergency medical technicians are preparing for a possible strike as prospects dim for a new contract agreement with LaSalle Ambulance Service, also known as Rural/Metro Medical Services.

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The current contract, which covers 400 Teamsters, expires Sunday, June 30, unless a federal mediator can assist the parties in resolving the critical outstanding issues.

"When you have a private equity firm involved in attempting to control the outcome of contract negotiations, they are more concerned with profits than public safety," said Teamsters Local 375 President Kevin C. Drysdale. "Despite the solid evidence we have presented to get a new contract with reasonable wages and improved working conditions, Rural Metro refuses to recognize the important work done by emergency medical technicians and paramedics."

Rural/Metro Medical Services, which provides emergency medical services for the greater Western New York area, was acquired by Warburg Pincus, a large, private equity firm, in June of 2011. The company presented the union with its final offer on Friday, June 28, which includes a substandard wage offer and the elimination of existing health care options. With a near unanimous strike vote taken earlier this month, Teamster members are expected to reject the pending contract and prepare for legal job actions once a 10-day notice has been provided to the company. 

"It's important for the communities served by Rural/Metro to understand that Warburg Pincus will bear the responsibility for the disruption in emergency medical service until a new contract with reasonable wages and benefits is achieved," Drysdale said. 

SOURCE Teamsters Local 375