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Sep 28, 2018

Cali EMS Voices Opposition to Prop 11

(Sacramento, California)— Members of the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) and the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics (IAEP) are joining together across California to voice opposition to Proposition 11, which will appear on ballots this November.
Over the past two years NAGE and IAEP members have worked to support the EMS Bill of Rights, pending legislation which expands the rights and safety protections of first responders on the job.  Proposition 11, however, will eliminate entire sections of that pending legislation while allowing employers to avoid potentially costly payouts related to recent lawsuits over their alleged failure to provide legally required meal breaks to these first responders.
“We recognize the importance of responding to the call,” said Philip Petit, national director for both NAGE EMS and IAEP. “We are just asking for a respectful and reasonable work environment for the men and women who are responding to those calls and patients every day.”
Proposition 11 would allow private sector EMS employers to avoid currently mandated payments to first responders who were unable to take meal breaks during their shifts.  Following numerous lawsuits and recent decisions, it is clear that without Proposition 11 these employers would be required to pay for these missed shift breaks.
“No EMS professional wants to eat a meal rather than respond to an emergency, they care deeply for the patients and community they serve,” said Petit. The union leader stated that corporations likely don’t want to lose their ability to order first responders back to work without penalty or recognition of the long hours and difficult conditions in which EMS professionals work.  “Our members deserve to be compensated for missed breaks just like every other worker in California,” said Petit.
While Proposition 11 does expand some limited mental health protections for first responders, it does not address numerous issues facing EMS professionals every day, and by decreasing policies on EMS shift breaks it potentially puts patients in unnecessary danger. 
“Simply put, Proposition 11 is a corporate tactic to fight legislation that they think will cost them too much money,” said Petit. “We know that more work has to be done and that first responders deserve so much more in the way of dignity and respect in the workplace than this proposition currently has to offer.”


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