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Home > EMS News
March 17, 2012

AMR lays off 50 Calif. EMTs after pay cuts rejected

Company will continue to employ emergency medical technicians who work on emergency ambulances

By Richard Halstead
Marin Independent Journal

MARIN, Calif. — American Medical Response, which bills itself as the largest private ambulance company in the United States, is laying off about 50 emergency medical technicians in Marin who voted not to accept a proposed cut in pay.

The EMTs work out of an operations center on Du Bois Street in San Rafael and work on non-emergency ambulances, which transport patients from one hospital to another or to nursing homes. AMR said that to "guarantee smooth and safe transition of service" to its customers it will turn over its existing contracts in the North Bay to its competitors.

Full story: AMR lays off 50 Calif. EMTs after pay cuts rejected

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Dennis Embry Dennis Embry Sunday, March 18, 2012 5:00:31 PM Well I say it big business big money not concerned with the little people just the profits. Always trying to get more from less and now everyone looses. I am sorry for the EMT that lost jobs because of them.
Andrew Tucker Andrew Tucker Sunday, March 18, 2012 5:04:36 PM How can any one pay 60% less than AMR? AMR is consistently among the lowest paying EMS companies out there. An experienced medic is lucky to make $8.50/hour at that place. That's paramedic! Ive worked as a at places that STARTED with $12.00/hour as a friggin Basic with no experience whatsoever!
Yvonne Schulte Simpson Yvonne Schulte Simpson Sunday, March 18, 2012 5:08:51 PM Another example of greed in the big Corporate America! The fact that it is at the level of Medical assistance pays no consideration. Hey, it could be your mother, father, child, needing that medical transport. What goes around will come around to you.....Corporate self-centered brain cells!
Mikka Pelletier Mikka Pelletier Sunday, March 18, 2012 5:24:36 PM 'Sorrick said the laid-off employees earn an average annual salary of $50,000.".... Must be nice to get pd this much.... Hopefully they will think twice next time as there are EMT's like my self who don't even make 5% of what these EMT's made, as a volunteer that is being on- call over 575 hours a month, we only get paid as soon as we go out on a call, we did get a dollar raise last month which was nice.. I love what I do..
Drew Croy Drew Croy Sunday, March 18, 2012 5:46:25 PM Please try to remember that this a business too. Many areas are 100% private and receive no city or county funding of any kind. As much as we all say that we dont do it for the money the fact remains that we have to feed our families too. If EMS is nyour fulltime job you dont have another money source to rely on like most volunteers do. Any business must remain profitable. The bills have to be paid and when they are not they have to cut something. My company was just recently bought and our wages actually went up BUT we had to institute many other cost saving measures to make the books balance. My #1 concern will always be patient care but a close second is business sense. my company cant help anyone if they cant keep the doors open and the ambulances on the road.
Jake Chiow Jake Chiow Sunday, March 18, 2012 5:53:16 PM Are they talking cuts in the area
Kyle Utz Kyle Utz Sunday, March 18, 2012 6:21:26 PM Agree with what you. However wage cuts should have been brought up in the contract negotiations. The company had agreed to pay set wages during the term of the contract. Corporate integrity should dictate that they honor there commitment
Scott Kirley Scott Kirley Sunday, March 18, 2012 6:42:39 PM Come to hawaii. We need people. EMT's make about $15/hr. MICT (paramedic $24/hr.
TTalia Hernandez Grove TTalia Hernandez Grove Sunday, March 18, 2012 7:06:21 PM $50k in California is nothing considering that state's cost of living....
Brett Laronde Brett Laronde Sunday, March 18, 2012 7:17:06 PM Lmao
Chris McKell Chris McKell Sunday, March 18, 2012 7:20:07 PM Mikka... Do you know what the cost of living in the Bay Area is? Judging from your comment about being a volunteer, I'm guessing you work in a relatively rural area where the cost of living is considerably lower. If a one bedroom apartment in the Bay Area costs anywhere from $1000-1400 per month, that's $12000-16800 annually just to put a roof over your, or your family's, head. $50,000 needs to be looked at with a open mind. Living in San Jose, CA is a helluva lot more expensive (rent, gas, groceries, etc...) than living in Memphis, TN. I used to work for AMR in Santa Clara County, both as an EMT and as a paramedic. The only reason I was "saved" from these unfortunate turn of events is because Rural/Metro came in and won the contract for 911 services and we lateraled over. I have plenty of friends, lots with families to support, who are being laid off. It's not their fault; they weren't being greedy voting down the proposed pay cuts. When you're barely making ends meet, there's no way you'll accept less for the same work load. I don't know what to think anymore about this company, this country, and this economy...
Cindy Nace Moriarity Cindy Nace Moriarity Sunday, March 18, 2012 8:45:47 PM Same mo that they did in Pa and NJ in the late 90's. Watch out other cities with AMR they will pull out and screw the people that work for them.
Jeff Jaeke Jeff Jaeke Sunday, March 18, 2012 9:46:17 PM That's more then then us paramedics make in Riverside county. I wish I was makeing 50K.
Dominique Duffy Dominique Duffy Monday, March 19, 2012 12:39:50 AM @Scott, if someone were to move to hawaii, they'll have to be retrained as MICT's (medics). Hawaii doesn't have EMT-I's. Basics get stuck hauling patient from one place to an other.
Scott Kirley Scott Kirley Monday, March 19, 2012 1:21:39 AM We do have some reciprocity EMT's and MICT's. But your hours need to be pretty close to ours and our program is 18 months. Contact Kapiolani Community College Dept of EMS @ 808-734-9289 for specifics.
Dominique Duffy Dominique Duffy Monday, March 19, 2012 1:24:51 AM Scott Kirley I know KCC's program. Skills might be diff. Jus saying cause what one place might let you do xyz while the next might not,
Scott Kirley Scott Kirley Monday, March 19, 2012 2:45:17 AM Dominique Duffy skills should be same. They teach national registry. Our EMT'd get to do quite a bit here under the supervision of paramedics. IV's, Defib, CPAP, etc...
Dominique Duffy Dominique Duffy Monday, March 19, 2012 4:20:04 AM Scott Kirley some stuff yes, other stuff, no. Example: here on Oahu, as T-emt or T-medic I can't go and arrest people. In some parts of the mainland, that be ok (as long as it fit their guidelines for arrest).
Lani Ferrante Lani Ferrante Monday, March 19, 2012 4:25:37 AM I suppose it depends on the area, as a first year EMT with AMR in Spokane I made almost $14/hr. Medics above that. Trust me, I have no complaints considering my alternatives.
Drew Croy Drew Croy Monday, March 19, 2012 5:41:39 AM Jake Chiow No, we are happily growing. Just opened 6 new stations.
Drew Croy Drew Croy Monday, March 19, 2012 5:49:18 AM Kyle Utz The fact remains that if you CANT pay... you CANT pay. They were offered the pay cut to keep the division a float, they refused. They are now collecting 25-30% less on unemployment rather than the 10-15% they were offered. It's tragic, but it's business. They paid into unemployment and they are entitled to it. So sit on your ass and make 75% of what you used to make for almost 2 years or work just as hard for 10% less? You see what they picked.
Jim Dill Jim Dill Monday, March 19, 2012 6:05:36 AM Hmmm they make a big deal of what a field person makes? what is it that they make? reality folks is that they lost the contract because THEY in their penny pinching ways screwed the pooch. They just don't seem to quite get the picture that they will lose all of their contract's if they fail to properly staff their divisions. Riverside county and San Bernardino county are experiencing the same problem of low staffing.
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Monday, March 19, 2012 7:20:46 AM If you look at some of the contracts lost, part can be contributed to the behavior of the employees. Most EMTs and Paramedics don't want to do the routine calls and it reflects in their work. Poor attitudes and crappy patient care during transport can add up when facilites consider who they want transporting their patients. There are endless comments on EMS forums with EMTs and Paramedics bragging about how they told off nurses, doctors and even patients they felt were not worthy of their "skills". Bad mouthing their own companies to others including nurses, doctors and patients will also be taken into consideration. This arrogance and ignorance puts a dark cloud on all of those who do a decent job.
Angel Cabral Angel Cabral Monday, March 19, 2012 7:59:38 AM Makes me sick. I can only pray for my fellow brothers and sisters who fell victim to corporate greed and mis management that led to the lay offs. Sounds like the invest firm running the show is out of touch with reality in terms of the 99%.
Kris Dill Kris Dill Monday, March 19, 2012 9:11:15 AM That's horrible! They are so wrong to do that to the ones who should be the highest paid in that operation! With out the EMT's and Paramedics, there wouldn't be an AMR Ambulance Corp!
Michael Smith Michael Smith Monday, March 19, 2012 10:45:25 AM In Riverside they paged out 10 paramedic shifts at double time yesterday. Just as many on Friday and Saturday.
Michael Smith Michael Smith Monday, March 19, 2012 10:46:44 AM Just goes to show you how understaffed these 2 counties are.
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Monday, March 19, 2012 11:49:16 AM The National Registry is an organization that administers the exam. It is not a national protocol nor does it set national quidelines for the scope of practice. Each state sets the scope of practice and each medical director can determine what the EMTs or Paramedics or MICTs can and can not do. EMS has too many labels for what essentially is the same or only varies by one or two skills. EMT-P, Paramedic or MICT are all similar. The length of the education varies depending on how many hours/days per week you attend class. Some programs stretch out a 6 month program to 18 months by doing only 2 evenings a week.
John S. Warren John S. Warren Monday, March 19, 2012 8:21:54 PM Bay Area recent surveys compared to national averages. Nationally,$45,000 puts a family of four at the poverty line. In the bay Area that number is $85,000. The biggest problem is that morals, ethics, customer service and dedication to the role played by medics goes out the window when the company is run by investment bankers who only think in terms of GREED and supporting the stock owners!
Ed Hawkins Ed Hawkins Monday, March 19, 2012 10:38:09 PM Well said John. I could not have said it better.
Chuck English Chuck English Tuesday, March 20, 2012 2:54:13 AM "Keep the doors open", "the bills have to be paid"...come on...."AMR reported a profit of $131 million in 2010". "The company, which was purchased for $3.2 billion". With all that I have heard and read in the last few years (more so lost contracts), it seems that some major changes need to be made in AMR's upper management. It's not the staff of EMT's and Medics that are losing these contracts. How do you lose a contract with a County that you have had for more years then I can remember. How is it that other providers are able to do these contracts, they are not doing it for free, they are making a profit... And no one can work for cheap pay in an area that the cost of living is high. " AMR said that to "guarantee smooth and safe transition of service" to its customers it will turn over its existing contracts in the North Bay to its competitors", are you kidding me, the competitors are laughing, they do not even have to work for their business, AMR is going to give it to them. If you have an issue with a contract you fix it, AMR management did not have the smarts to figure out how to do this, totally nuts....AMR, you need help, give me a call, I will be happy to take part of your $131 million profit and fix your contract issues, I did it before and will be happy to do it again....oh, it will cost you a lot more money this time. I feel bad, and very sad for all those hard working EMT's and Medics, I hope and pray that things work out for all of you.
Tim Johnson Tim Johnson Tuesday, March 20, 2012 4:51:16 AM For as far back as I can remember it is the EMTs and Paramedics who take it in the shorts: the hours, the pay, the respect or lack there of. So sad to have a layoff heaped on top of it all. My heart goes out to them!
Kyle Utz Kyle Utz Tuesday, March 20, 2012 5:01:17 AM I don't think thats how they viewed it. AM (and rightly) so has a reputation of holding there employees to the letter of the contract. Tardiness,absenteeism and other work related issues are dealt with according to the negotiated contract regardless or the circumstances surrounding the incident. The employees are expected to live up to there contractual commitments. Why shouldn't the company he held to the same standard? For the most part profitability is out of the hands of the employees. This whole situation was brought on by the loss of a major contract, not because of pt care issues but because of response times. Sounds like AM did vapor job utilizing SMS and managing UHU's and now expects to be able to go back on there commitment to there employees. I will guarantee that most of the employees displaced will find work with the competitor that is taking over the AMR contracts. Employees and Employers each have responsibilities to each other. When one side decides it will no longer honor its responsibilities the whole relationship breaks down. What kind of cuts could have been made with AMR administration and management to allow the company to keep its commitments until contract renewal when they could have negotiated a new pay structure that would have allowed to remain profitable?
Sandra Mitchell Sandra Mitchell Tuesday, March 20, 2012 7:20:16 AM Another example of corporate greed paid for on the backs of hardworking people who barely make enough to get by...especially in the Bay Area!
Dan Mitchell Dan Mitchell Tuesday, March 20, 2012 7:42:46 AM Everything went to shit when Paul Shirley and Earl Riggs sold AMR. As someone stated earlier, it's all about corporate greed. In the early days of Paul and Earl everything was moving in the right direction. The company was growing, getting new contracts, and not losing them.
Dan Mitchell Dan Mitchell Tuesday, March 20, 2012 7:44:33 AM Chuck, you hit the nail right on the head with this one!
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Tuesday, March 20, 2012 8:18:58 AM This is where some bitch but have little to no clue what they are talking about when it comes to a publicly traded company vs privately owned vs one that is not publicly traded. If anyone here has a savings account or pension plan, you don't put your money into something and not expect any return. Without investors to put up money I doubt if you would be paid anywhere close nor have the health insurance benefits. Most here are just crying emotional bull without knowing anything about what it takes to run a business and keep as many people as they do employed. If Chuck is talking about Alameda county, that was a 911 contract. Bidding to provide services open up an entirely different area. IFT transport has other criteria for negotiating services. If you don't like AMR, you don't have to work for them. But, unless you are volunteer and don't need the money most every company will have the same concerns. Even volunteer organizations must pay the bills and the loans they have had to make to keep a ambulance running.
Anna M. Szudrowicz Anna M. Szudrowicz Tuesday, March 20, 2012 3:28:39 PM They want then to work for free...volunteer work...John, you said it great.
Robert Limpert Robert Limpert Wednesday, March 21, 2012 4:24:26 AM It all boils down to the little guy gets the out while the big guys daont take anycuts at all. We here in the thumb of mich Detroit area etc... dont make crap. Id love to make 50,000.a year. All i can say is. Thank god for trailer Parks. Or most of us single father medics and emts would be living in a van down by the river.
Gene Sullivan Gene Sullivan Wednesday, March 21, 2012 10:34:13 AM Is it just me, or is AMR the worst things to ever happen to the American workforce?
Robert Limpert Robert Limpert Wednesday, March 21, 2012 10:42:10 AM I totaly agree with you gene.
Jeff Lewis Jeff Lewis Friday, March 23, 2012 11:55:07 AM We have AMR in Tampa, Florida and they too, are a joke! They would turn down 911 calls almost daily because they would rather do the guaranteed money makers.....interfacilities. When AMR had the contract for Sunstar, Pinellas County, Florida's countywide service for ALS and BLS, they would "hand down" the used ambulances from the busy 911 service to the service across the bay in Tampa. They would get them painted and then put a rig on the street with 300,000+ miles on it. Brakes would shake violently, trucks would break down regularly, leaving patients to suffer. Although they were not 911 calls for the most part, they would lose contracts because dispatchers would not call the facilities and let them know the truck would be delayed, mechanical! And, yes, Tampa is nowhere near as high as California to live, but a basic starts out less than $7.00/hr. Then families wonder why mom or dad is working overtime in order to make more money! As the old saying goes....run, run, run and make far less!
Christopher W Field Christopher W Field Saturday, March 24, 2012 2:39:16 AM I wish I could get medics to work for 12 dollars an hour! Here in the UK we have medics (EMT grade) who have turned down work for the equivalent of 35 dollars an hour.
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Saturday, March 24, 2012 4:24:32 AM I thought it took more than 110 hours to training to become an EMT or Paramedic in the UK?
Atalea Jacob Atalea Jacob Tuesday, March 27, 2012 9:22:01 PM As "they" make record profits, they want the barely average middle class worker to accept paycuts? this is a very common tactic now in this economy, the corporations know people are scared and desperate so they can strong arm workers into this in to "working more for less," the weak private unions are taking these workers money aswell and not really representing them. $50,000 a year base salary? are you kidding me? for who workers who have been with AMR for years (6-10 yrs on the best paying car) the majority bring in between 28,000-40,000.00 a year working over 48 hour weeks, after 2-3 years and that's still barely a living wage here in Marin or the county. and you want a paycut ontop of that? they also wanted the workers to take a benefit cut not mentioned in this article. This is not about poor response time or losing the Kaiser contract, Marin gained three contracts. This is layoff is really about AMR doing what they do best, firing loyal hardworking staff with benefits to pick up low paying beginners. thank you AMR for adding hundreds of families to the unemployment lines.
Atalea Jacob Atalea Jacob Tuesday, March 27, 2012 9:32:30 PM Billions to $50,000. what a long way down..unemployment or pay cut. 164 workers who accepted wage cuts were also layedd off....at what point does your union stand up for you, at what point can a company continue to lower your wages and not pay into benefits..I guess its ok for these EMTs/ps to take care of everybody but themselves, our taxes end up paying for their medi-cal and unemployment while AMR corporate and the sneaky unions profit from the new cheap hires. American Medical Response (AMR), who proclaims itself to be the largest private ambulance company in the United States, announced on February 14 that they were going to be purchased by the large private equity firm of Clayton, Dubilier, and Rice (CD&R) for $3.2 billion, or roughly $64 a share. If the purchase and transaction were completed, AMR stock would not be publicly traded on Wall Street through the New York Stock Exchange anymore, but would be wholly owned by a private company. According to the Clayton, Dubilier and Rice website, “CD&R’s investments span a number of industry segments with enterprise values ranging from $1 billion to $15 billion. Our investments are well-positioned market leaders where significant value can be created through underlying business building. From ou...r landmark purchase from IBM of what is now Lexmark International, a publicly traded global inkjet printer manufacturer, to the $15 billion acquisition of rental car leader Hertz from Ford Motor Company, CD&R has a history of helping management transform businesses.”. Since that announcement, countless lawsuits have been filed against AMR and the private equity firm of CD&R since the share price of AMR was $70.66 on the last trading day before the acquisition was announced. This was well above the announced sale price of $64 a share. Some analysts believe the value of the shares of AMR should be between $70 and $75. Most of the lawsuits filed allege that the board members and corporate owners are to gain the most from the deal. now you see this is not about Kaiser or workers making too much...corporate greed wins again..
Atalea Jacob Atalea Jacob Tuesday, March 27, 2012 9:43:55 PM this is what happens when "private equity firms" buy out America literally, Clayton, Dubilier and Rice the equity firm, is notorious for buying all kinds of businesses, and as they begin to restructure, they wage war on the workers, they want to pay "just above minimum wage" and no benefits, they want a third world work force. They wage war, First with lowering wages, benefits and eventually replacing you all together with cheaper labor, this is the face of the new America. The 50,000.00 salary only applies to workers who have been there for years, even though its not much in the bay area, most of the EMTs make between 25,000-40,000 after 2-3 years, and work over 48 hours a week for that, funny how "AMR" tries to make it look like its the workers fault for not crawling and begging for their job, by the way it was a 25% pay cut and cut in benefits and for people living paycheck to paycheck and food and gas prices going up, this was a slap in the face. Billions these equity owners make, yet we the 99% need to take a pay cut. and where was the union? NEMSA..oh ya in bed with AMR collecting dues..
Brian Schnabel Brian Schnabel Thursday, May 24, 2012 1:48:06 AM It all depends on where you work, I was in Alameda County until 1999 and was making $25.45 an hour as n EMT. We had to fight like hell to get up there, when I started in 1989 it was $6.50 an hour. Granted when I left I was top step, strike shift (Mid's), and CCT pay, so I was making more than a lot of medics.
Brandon Bigos Brandon Bigos Thursday, May 31, 2012 3:03:49 PM You live in Maine. Nuff said...

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