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N.H. county EMS workers vote to unionize

Members of Cheshire County EMS voted to join Teamsters Local 633 in Manchester


Photo/Greenwood EV

By Christopher Cartwright
The Keene Sentinel

SWANZEY, N.H. — Emergency medical service workers for Cheshire County’s EMS service have voted unanimously to unionize, according to a news release Thursday from Teamsters Local 633 in Manchester.

Thirty emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are joining Local 633, which represents more than 5,200 workers across the state, the union said.

“We are excited to join the Teamsters,” John Williams, an EMT with Cheshire County EMS, said in the release. “The Teamsters’ long history of supporting workers and strong representation — including at other departments in Cheshire County — was a big factor in why we voted to organize.”

Cheshire EMS’s launch in November 2022 came about a year after the county announced plans to acquire the private Keene-based DiLuzio Ambulance Service. That deal fell through in April 2022, but the county moved forward with its own service, using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to construct its headquarters in Swanzey, purchase equipment and help subsidize the first three years of service costs for contracted towns.

The county service became the primary provider for some area towns following the closure of DiLuzio Ambulance in early May.

“Cheshire County is the first county-run EMS facility in New England, and now they are the first unionized county-run facility in New England,” Secretary-Treasurer of Local 633 Jeffrey Padellaro said in the release. “We look forward to working alongside our new brothers and sisters at Cheshire County EMS and securing an industry-leading contract for them.”

Cheshire County Administrator Chris Coates said the vote did not catch him by surprise.

“The County has had a relationship with the Teamsters Local 633 for years. It has been healthy and strong as they represent the corrections officers at the Department of Corrections, and also the Sheriff’s deputies and dispatchers,” he wrote in an email Friday morning.

“We’ve known since the development of Cheshire EMS the Teamsters were looking to expand their membership.

“This relationship will help us to continue to build Cheshire EMS’ high quality of service and care, and we look forward to a strong continued working relationship.”

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