EL CENTRO – The strike against Gold Cross Ambulance Service (GAS) by Teamsters Local 542 is over.
Employees of GAS voted September 26, 27, and 28 not to re-certify the union.
The union will no longer represent the GAS employees.
The strike began July 28 by about 60 ambulance drivers, paramedics, and EMT’s employed by GAS after negotiations failed to produce results.
Phil Farias, president of Teamsters Local 42, was arrested September 1 after allegedly assaulting GAS Division Manager John Goodall. The incident was captured on video surveillance cameras.
“The employees went on strike under false information from the union,” said Goodall.
The hourly wage is just a portion of the total package paid to employees. Medical, dental, and prescriptions are all covered. Vacation, sick leave, uniform allowances, out-of-county transfer bonuses, and safety bonuses are some of the items in the pay packages. Starting pay is approximately$40k plus the generous benefits package.
GAS hired replacements for the striking employees. Many strikers resigned from the union and crossed the picket lines during the strike to go back to work.
“The enthusiasm here is up with the new people and the employees that have crossed the strike line,” said Goodall. “Hospitals and emergency responders have commented on the professionalism and renewed exuberance. The company is experiencing a reinvigorating time.”
Former employees that continued to strike may have a chance to be rehired, but only part time since all full time positions are filled.
“The employees are ecstatic over the vote results from Friday, ” Said Goodall. “Everyone was high-fiving each other. The vote was 51 to 35 not to re-certify the union. The union packed everything up, including their trailer and all their trash, and were out of here in 45 minutes.”
The Teamsters left their strike post near the Gold Cross facility without incident.
Cedric Cesena, Imperial County Emergency Services Manager, said, “Gold Cross Ambulance Service has been exceeding minimum performance standards. The comments we are getting from first responders are very positive. Excellent customer care and a more professional workforce is what we are hearing.”