Seattle EMTs suspend upcoming strike as negotiations resume | KNKX

Seattle EMTs suspend upcoming strike as negotiations resume

Dec 21, 2018

Negotiations between the union representing emergency medical technicians in Seattle and their employer resumed Thursday afternoon, prompting the union to suspend an upcoming strike.

The EMTs, represented by Teamsters Local 763, were prepared to strike starting at noon Friday. In a statement, union Secretary-Treasurer Scott Sullivan called the suspension "a show of good faith."

The EMTs are employed by American Medical Response, a private company that contracts with the City of Seattle and other parts of the region to provide ambulance services up to basic life support. 

A spokesman for the company said they were hopeful the parties could come to an agreement and avoid a strike.

Bargaining has been ongoing for most of 2018, with the sticking point being pay raises. The starting wage for EMTs is $15.54 per hour.

In November, the company made a "last and final" offer to boost starting pay to $17 an hour. The Teamsters' offer for starting pay was similar, but they wanted pay to increase more quickly as EMTs gain experience.

The union, which represents about 450 EMTs in Seattle, authorized a strike shortly after that offer. Negotiations had been on hold since then.

American Medical Response was preparing to use EMTs from out of state in the event of a strike. But Seattle and King County officials were wary of that plan and were preparing their own contingencies.

If negotiations sputter again, those plans may need to be revisted.