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Season 5, Episode 101

EMTs in Bozeman become first union of their kind with AFSCME Council 9

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Guest Name:

Tyler Holmes

Guest Website:

AFSCME Council 9 

Guest Social Media:





Supportive Documents:

Tyler Holmes, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with American Medical Response in Bozeman, Mont. (AMR Bozeman), joined the America’s Workforce Union Podcast to discuss the successful organizing efforts at the private ambulance company and what led the roughly 40 EMTs at AMR to seek representation from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 9.

Holmes talked about how he began a career as an EMT with AMR Bozeman, a private ambulance company with locations throughout Montana. He spoke about the organizing drive he and his coworkers ran to gain union representation at their location. With a unanimous vote, they became the first EMS workers to form a union with AFSCME Council 9 and the first AMR employees to unionize in Montana. He described what it took for him and his coworkers to get a successful union vote and some of their employer's anti-union efforts.

At AMR Bozeman, there have been several cases in which an old ambulance was brought into Bozeman after being retired from another location, and it was now being used after the ambulance passed the threshold for safe operation. Holmes talked about the safety incidents he has experienced as an AMR employee, including the story of an ambulance suffering a catastrophic failure while transporting a patient. Beyond the hazards faced by faulty equipment and ambulances, the EMTs at the Bozeman-based ambulance company experienced high staff turnover and other issues that led to them seeking protection from a union.

As contract negotiations are underway, Holmes is hopeful that several of the issues will be resolved and that he and his coworkers will be able to provide better service to the community. There are no other ambulance operators in the area, so when someone calls 911, AMR is the company handling the dispatched calls. Now that Holmes and his coworkers have a seat at the table, they feel they can advocate for themselves and the patients they serve.

Listen to the show above to hear more from Holmes on the day-to-day work of EMTs and what the union has done to help him and his coworkers.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

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