Some of the region's first responders are now working under a new contract. American Medical Response and Teamsters Local 449 have signed off on a new collective bargaining agreement. AMR is also launching a new jobs initiative.
The Teamsters Union represents about 330 employees at AMR. The company's Regional Director, Tom Maxian, says the new agreement includes the largest pay increase ever seen in an EMS contract in Western New York.
"The raises under the new collective bargaining agreement range from a minimum of about 15 percent to a maximum of about 32 percent, which, obviously, is a very robust increase and we're very proud to be able to do that. In addition, we'll be able to provide comprehensive healthcare at a much lower cost to all of our team members," Maxian said.
The company is also changing its hiring practices. Historically AMR only hired applicants already certified as EMTs, which he says, limited the company's candidate pool severely.
"Starting today, we'll be able to hire the best people, provide them with a top notch education and enable them to earn while they learn. EMT students will attend our academy as paid employees. They will engage in the New York state EMT curriculum. They will earn certification as New York state EMTs," Maxian said.
Candidates who successfuly complete the program will be eligible for paramedic training. AMR is looking to hire 50 new employees over the next month.