ITHACA – Workers employed with Bangs Ambulance, Inc., in Ithaca recently began organizing to form a union with the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA). The group of around 50 EMTs, Paramedics, and Emergency Medical Dispatchers are seeking better working conditions and a stronger voice on the job. The Tompkins County Workers’ Center has been working very closely with this organizing drive all along the way.
Bangs Ambulance is the largest and primary EMS response agency in Tompkins County and took nearly 11,000 calls just last year. The number of 911 EMS calls in Tompkins County is increasing exponentially, pushing the current system to the limit every day. EMS providers feel this is not sustainable and could lead to poor outcomes and lower quality of patient care.
The goal of organizing is to provide workers with a collective voice for positive collective change to help build a better system in order to provide the community with the highest level of care and recruit and retain the best EMS caregivers in Tompkins County.
Robert Royer, Paramedic with 15 years in EMS field – “I am organizing so that we can provide better care and service to the public. A piece of solving that problem is to build a better retention system within our ranks”
Nick Supron, Advanced Emergency Medical Technician with 4 years in EMS field – “I am organizing because I am concerned about worker and patient safety. I believe that our community is at risk and that with a unified voice we can affect change.”
Mel Montalbano, Senior Paramedic with 7 years in EMS field – “I am organizing because we should have a seat at the table where our voices can be heard so that we may have a say in our working conditions.”
Hayden Frank, Paramedic with 5 years in EMS field – “I am organizing because EMS workers should not have to sacrifice our physical, mental, and emotional well-being to serve our community.”