Ambulance firm EMTs go on strike in d...

Ambulance firm EMTs go on strike in dispute over salary

There are 27 comments on the San Gabriel Valley Tribune story from Apr 28, 2008, titled Ambulance firm EMTs go on strike in dispute over salary. In it, San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that:

The first strike in American Medical Response's 16-year history began with more than 300 employees picketing Monday.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

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Corona, CA

#1 Apr 29, 2008
$10 a hour!?! These people are responsible for your life and this is what they are paid? Don't kids at In-N-Out make almost that? I know EMT's must go through some type of training/school to be certified (not to mention have their CPR/Red Cross cards). I totally support this strike. Makes a whole lot more sense for these people to strike then overpaid grocery store workers.

Downey, CA

#2 Apr 29, 2008
About time AMR employee's strike, they are saving lives out there show them some respect and pay them accordingly. It's well known that many EMT's are underpaid.

Newhall, CA

#3 Apr 29, 2008
I hope the EMT's at AMR get the contract they deserve. These EMT's and Paramedics put themselves in harms way to help other individuals when those people are at their worst. It is not too much to ask for decent medical benefits and pay.

Newhall, CA

#4 Apr 29, 2008
It was nearly a month ago, I was at my uncle’s house in El Monte and we had to call 9-1-1 because my uncle started having chest pain. I was happy to see the number of people who showed up to help my uncle, both fire fighters and AMR EMT’s. Both the firefighters and AMR worked together to help my uncle. I just assumed these EMT’s made more money since they working so well with the LA County Fire Dept. I am shocked to read they only make $9.50/hour. Both the EMT’s and the Fire Dept helped my uncle and got him to the hospital safely. Give these brave EMT’s better pay they deserve it.

United States

#5 Apr 29, 2008
When I work in the field 21 years ago, I was one of the highest paid EMT making $5.50 per hour. It is so sad that over the past 21 years the hourly rate has only increased $4.00 per hour. To be trained as an EMT, you must take in most cases a semester class at a college or trade school and renew it every two years. There are highly trained EMTs. When you get your ambulance bill, just remember those how help save your life just earned $19.00 out of the $1000.00 to $2000.00 ambulance bill. The avarage call is about 2 hours by the time they run the call and do the required reports and getting the ambulance ready for the next call. This is sad, when I started driving in 1978, I was making $3.50 per hour.

United States

#6 Apr 29, 2008
Just a note, This was in Ventura County Calif. not in Denver Co. Not sure why it came up with that state by my last post.
Fred G


#7 Apr 29, 2008
The company that I used to work for went out of business four weeks ago. Although I am actively searching for a job, I am unemployed with no health insurance. You people are turning down a 20% pay increase, with your employer covering 75% of your health care costs? You people are nuts.


#8 Apr 29, 2008
I worked as a EMT for many years. Bottom line if you didnt like the wage why did you sign up for the job in the first place. The average raise in a union shop nationwide is 3 percent and you folks turned down 20 percent in 4 years. Nuts. Not to mention now your on strike without income,benefits. How long will that take to make up. I do agree the job EMTs and Paramedics do is important. However if we have walked off the job how much is this about one self as opposed to being worried and wanting to serve the community? Any employee that walks off the job that serves the community should really look hard at themselves in the mirror. What would of happened in WWII if are troops would of gone on strike and just walked off. Talk about dangerous and underpaid. Get a grip people!
Ms Mo

La Habra, CA

#9 Apr 30, 2008
You readers have to remember they are only telling you part of the story. They are not letting the public know about the small print of the contract that would give AMR the right to change the out of pocket expense for insurance next open enrollment and the 5% raise would be nothing because it would go to the insurance. Also the contract ended August 31st and they only want to back pay untill November. The employees want a 3 year contract and who benefits (AMR) with a 4 year contract.AMR needs to appreciate their employees. AMR lost a big part of their County Contract because they are so gready!! The employees at AMR are the lowest paid compare to other companies in LA County and this is the largest ambulance company in the nation. So before you say you people are nuts or get a grip get your story straight.
Current EMT

San Diego, CA

#10 Apr 30, 2008
Just so everyone knows what it takes to be an EMT in California:

120 Hour EMT class (24 hour class to renew every 2 years)

CPR card (renew every 2 years)

DMV test (renew every 4 years)

DMV back ground test (renew every 4 years)

Physical Exam (renew every 4 years)

County back ground check (renew every 2 years)

Most EMT's are making $9 an hour. The minimum wage in California is $8.00 an hour.

Paramedic training is more extensive, and is now around 1600 hours. Paramedic's in San Diego can do procedures that even RN's cannot do, i.e Intubation, and Needle Thoracostomy. Yet, starting pay for paramedics at Rural Metro is $13.00 an hour. You read that right.$13.00 an hour to save somebodies life.

Go to and do a search for "paramedic" in California and you will see what the wages are.

It would seem that $15 an hour should be the starting pay for EMT's and $25 an hour for paramedics.

There is big money in the ambulance business. AMR is a publicly traded company. It is time for ALL ambulance companies to start writing bigger checks to it's employees!

“Airborne mama on a oneway trip”

Since: Apr 08

Littlerock, Ca

#11 Apr 30, 2008
EMT you are correct you do not make enough money for saving peoples lives. But there are many other things you do that should constitute making more money. I cannot imagine going to a call and having a child die because thier was nothing you could do. Or the scene of a horrible accident with people who have expired. I am an RN and I could not believe how much money you make. My friends child died in an accident and there was nothing the EMTS could do. But one thing my friend remembers even while her child layed dyig was how compassionate the EMT was.
Forming New EMS

San Bernardino, CA

#12 May 6, 2008
In researching payrates and Dept. of Labor pay rates/occupational titles. I do agree EMT and Paramedic ARE underpaid. We will probably do much market research and demographics research on surrounding areas to see what pay rates RETAINS quality people to man our units. We are not looking for the constant turn over of personnel. We will be primarily looking for full time employees.
news Falsh

Lancaster, CA

#13 May 7, 2008
People I know this is off topic but we need help in saving the little anminal that was set on fire in lancaster----------

I am worried that the animal control will adhear to policy and destroy that little fellow after 8 days. Heres another thought : If in fact they plan to stay on policy and the animal is doomed, what kind of care is the little guy getting being he is to be killed. Even Carl Chestman got exellent care up till the time they executed him as with all condemed prisnors. Maybe the bloggers should e-mail the supervisors office to see what is going to happen to the puppy. by going to the supervisors office it ensures proper care and may spare the animals life. Heres his rep in the area:
Norm L. Hickling
[email protected]
E-mail or call but please keep it civil.

United States

#14 May 8, 2008
Oh the drama!

Here is a free gift for you folks not making enough money...none of us are. You think anyone in EMS has it easy? All of us are faced with the same bills, same responsibilities and life needs. I think it is called being an adult.Some people refer to the problem as the economic strain, but hell, you can blame your employer if you wish. It seems a whole lot easier than taking the blame yourself, doesn't it?

You dont like the money? Find another job. You love the job and dont want to leave for more money? Adjust your lifestyle.Get a room mate, a cheaper place to live, buy a different car. Quit living a champagne lifestyle on a coca cola budget.

20% pay raise over four years, regardless of performance. Someone PLEASE do that for me! Must make you feel real fine knowing that you could be an exemplary employee and your partner can be a real scum bag, yet, each year, both of you get the same raise. Talk about performance based incentives. Watch the employee quality digress to pathetic levels.

IAEP is a joke. Matt Levy is known to speak untruths. Someone make him publish his salary. Make the shop steward do the same.You will be surprised at what they get to "work for you"

Wonderful place you guys have in Lancaster too. The LA County Fire EMS is a little on the strange side, but hey. I dont live there anymore.

United States

#15 May 8, 2008
In spite of what the heading indicates, I am not in Colorado.

United States

#16 May 11, 2008
IAEP and Matt Levy are a joke! NEMSA just tentatively agreed to a contract in Northern California worth 36 million dollars in wage and benefit increases. Wage increases average 8% a year and insurance share is 90/10 for everyone including dependents. No strike needed...

IAEP strikes for 4 days, and settles for less than AMR's last offer. And all the talk about healthcare limits? AMR's fiscal year is Jan - Dec so the guarantee that healthcare won't change until January is true.... because AMR can't change the plan until then.

People need to start re-organizing under NEMSA... they are the only ones who can actually get money from AMR at this point....
AMR dispatcher

United States

#17 Jun 13, 2008
Northern California AMR contracts are great and average $20 an hour to start and up to $30+ for 10 years plus experience, with great overtime rules and better benefits then the postal service. Plus the cost of living is about the same as southern california. AMR southern Ca needs to wake up and pay the right wages.

Hillsboro, OR

#18 Jun 19, 2008
I am currently a student at AMR in the EMT-B class. I spent a day talking with other EMT-B's and Paramedics at the dispatch and training facility in Portland. Let me clear some things up for you.
EMT-B makes about 10-12.00/hr TO START.
EMT-P makes anywhere from 18.00-35.00/hr depending on experience, advanced certifications and degree status.
It's a career like any other. If you want to make more money, get advanced training and put the time in. Nobody gets ahead without paying dues. And I don't think ANYONE gets into this job to be rich.
I understand that in California EMT's are getting paid less. That doesn't make sense to me being the cost of living is SO dramatically higher. I hope it gets fixed for them soon.
Mary Lou

Fort Worth, TX

#19 Nov 6, 2009
I do think it is a sad and selfish act. I used to
work a circle k and got paid 10.09 an hour to bag
someones beer and cigarettes and make coffee! As expensive it is to live in Southern California, and to be paid so little to help save lives is truly unfair. I highest paid jobs should be in the medical and educational professions. The state of California has become so greedy and careless. It is so hard to make any living out here. So many people are poor and going without and on top of that EVERYTHING is expensive. It's rediculous! You have to almost suffer to live in a place so beautiful. Housing is so expensive and yet job is paid so little. You have to live hand to mouth and in constant fear of what might happen at all times. It's a crime! How does anybody expect to survive? No wonder the suicidal rates are high and so many people are homeless. What is a person to do? A STUDIO rents for about $950.00? A STUDIO! And minimum wage is what?$8.00-$8.50?!! And most of these jobs don't even give benefits. Then people get sad and depressed on top of having to deal with possible illnesses and can't get proper medical treatment, or are turnd down by doctor's offices and hospitals to those who have some type of insurance but wont accept it! Nothing seems to be good enough. Then your judged by many people cause you don't fit the NEW TREND etc., people are suffering and can't even get a job flipping burgers without a bachelor's degree practically. Everything is in high demand especially now, and not everyone has the time or money to go to school to get degree's cause there working two full time jobs just to barely get by!! Then it's hard to get government assistance on anything cause you make too much to their standards yet not enough for your household and we're suppose to accept that it is ok to pay so little to those who educate ourselves and children? And to pay so little to those who help save lives from those who are overdosing on the cocain that they snorted at their government desks with our tax money that they bought it with!!!!!! PAY UP!!! These people are important!! They help save lives!!! So stop draining theirs and give them what they deserve! Regardless, God ALWAYS provides and takes care of and $9.oo an hour is a blessing from the Lord but be fair. They educate themselves well and we NEED these people, so give them what they deserve!!! If a model can be paid to put on make up and do their hair to look pretty or handsome to stand in front of a camera and be paid HUNDREDS a DAY or THOUSANDS to be on a magazine cover to represent someone ELSE'S fake product, we can certainly pay someone alot more to help save our lives.

Orange, CA

#20 Feb 4, 2010
In this economy you think that you deserve to make more than day $10-12 an hour? Fine go look for a new job. I will hire other people. There are plenty of emt's with many years of eprience that are willing to work for that amount so filling those positions will not be hard. Yes company's make 1k-2k off run but you need to take something in to consideration, they don't see majority of that money. Between gas, 5 milion insurance coverage in la,, worker comp and other insurance, like disability which is required by law and you quickly see why company's pay what they pay.

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