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Dec 17, 2015

Illinois paramedics picket for living wages

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CICERO, Ill. — Paramedics from Metro Paramedic Services are picketing Thursday, asking public support for living wages.
The paramedics have been negotiating since September 2014 for a living wage. Nate Morrish, a representative for the International Association of EMTs and paramedics, said that the Cicero paramedics have a much harder time making ends meet than the other employees of the same corporation in the region.

"Paramedics in Cicero are getting paid less per hour than paramedics working for Superior, their parent company," Morrish said. "The employer is making them pay more for their medical insurance than it makes other paramedics in the area pay, and it’s refusing to provide them education in skills like advanced cardiac life support and pre-hospital trauma life support. That’s not just harmful to paramedics and their family budgets. That’s potentially dangerous to patients in greater Cicero."

The national director of the IAEP said the difficulties the Cicero paramedics are facing are all too common.

"EMS workers put in ridiculous hours, never see their families, and get paid embarrassingly low wages," said IAEP National Director Phil Petit. "It makes it hard to develop a stable workforce in any one location because people can’t support their families like that, and that’s not good for the people who depend on them."

Petit said he hoped that residents would show their support. "When people find out what their local paramedics go through, they’re usually very supportive," he said. "We hope they’ll realize how much their neighbors mean to them and come show them some support."
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