Many of the posts on this network site, and others, bemoan the plight of poor, overworked, underpaid, and under-respected EMS providers.
Yet, the EMS community does not seem to have an active labor movement working to improve this environment.
I must confess that I'm not a union guy - I'm a chief in a right-to-work, no collective bargaining for public employees state. So the situation probably works to my advantage - maybe. But I am curious.
It seems that much of the economic and political success in the fire service comes as a result of the efforts of the IAFF, which claims 292,000 members. The EMS workforce study places the EMS workforce at between 200,000 and 700,000 members, which ought to be a formidable force. Yet I couldn't name a single large, EMS-only labor organization that might represent more than 2% of the EMS workforce. I see EMS folks represented by the SEIU (service workers), AFSCME (general public employees, heavy on the clerical), the Teamsters (truck drivers), police locals, fire locals, and a variety of others.
Is there an explanation for this phenomenon, or for the lack of a single focus EMS labor organization? Or is it just another example of that saying (cleaned up for publication) that "EMS folk can't organize a sandwich in a kitchen"?
Standing by for enlightenment.......