EL CENTRO – The Teamster Union strike is in day 37 and still no new contract for Gold Cross Ambulance Service employees in the Imperial Valley.
Gold Cross employees decided to take a break before going out on the strike line again. Negotiations remain at a standstill, also replacement workers have gathered enough signatures to try and remove the union.
“Our members are still strong, the company is doing their best to break the union,” Local Teamsters 542 President Phil Farias said.
“Strikers and replacement workers will be the ones voting”, Farias said.
“No negotiations are going on. It’s kind of a ‘good ole Mexican standoff’ at this point,” Farias said.
Calexico Mayor Bill Hodge showed his support by attending the workers’ Labor Day barbeque. He was appalled when he learned what the Gold Cross wages were.
“A paramedic in the valley makes $9.70 an hour. You go down the street at In-N-Out they make $11. Go figure, that is wrong,” Hodge said. Hodge is encouraging the Imperial County Board of Supervisors to step in to do something.
“I urge the county. They have the power to come put pressure on Gold Cross and make this right. Make these people get a fair wage,” Hodge said.
Jimmy McNeal, director of operations for Gold Cross said the pay scale is based on what they receive from Medi-Cal and Medicare, which he added, was not a whole lot.
“If you have a population of folks down in Imperial Valley that have Medical insurance, you’re looking at 14 cents on the dollar and if you have a population on Medicare you’re looking at 38 to 40 cents on the dollar,” McNeal said.
Farias said the voting for or against breaking up the union may happen at the end of the month.