Rural Metro Going Union?

For the second time in little more than a year, some paramedics and EMT's are trying to get rural metro's Knox County ambulance crews to go union.

Last Octobers bid fell only three vote short but organizers this time believe they have stronger ammo.

One of the faster growing labor groups in this country the service employees international union.

With a specialized subsidiary who already represents rural metro crews in at least five markets.

Ken Tuggle says he and other ambulance crews have little beef with rural metro's pay.

"There's some discrepancies in the way some employees are treated."

It's kind of good old boy issue.

"A lot of promises were made last year when they went through this as a private association and those promises were not lived up to," said Matt Levy.

If we were held over our off-duty time by 90 minutes, we got a 25 dollar bonus--they took that away a couple months ago.

"The people who were not supporting us last year, are some of the leaders this year," said Levy.

Rural Metros will say only thats its employees have the right to organize.

But management hopes they'll choose not to, once they've reviewed all the facts.

Carl Rasmussen fears unionized ambulance crews would force rural metro's customers to pay more.

"I belong to an association, but it doesn't lobby on my behalf, for my income and my benefits, that's something I provide for myself as I see fit."

Ken Tuggle and his union backers insist there's little worry of the bigger threat.

"We wouldn't go on strike and put the community in a situation where they wouldn't have health care available."

"In order for us to strike those services there needs to be something really egregious going on that is not going on," said Levy.

Rural Metro also promises services won't suffer regardless.


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