Last updated: April 30. 2014 11:29AM - 3714 Views
By - rwagner@civitasmedia.com - 419-946-3010

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Emergency medical services members of the Morrow County Firefighters and Squadsmen’s Association have voted to join NEMSA, the National Emergency Medical Services Association, a registered labor union based in Modesto, California.

EMS Chief Jeff Sparks confirmed Monday 30 emergency responders and employees voted April 17 and 18 to join the union, and though there is a two-week period to appeal the vote results, Sparks feels the vote will stand.

“We see no reason to appeal,” he said. ‘The Morrow County EMS employees definitely voted in a union. This collective barging unit is for the hourly EMS employees and no member of management or the administrative staff are part of the collective bargaining unit.”

According to nemsausa.org, NEMSA is a ‘not-for-profit mutual benefit corporation that specializes in the labor representation of pre-hospital EMS Professionals such as EMTs, paramedics, dispatchers, call takers, critical care nurses, air ambulance flight nurses and paramedics, as well as EMS related support staff.’

The NEMSA site states the corporation ‘prides itself on negotiating top-notch EMS contracts and the aggressive and fair representation of its members. NEMSA provides representation to EMS workers and support staff only and is 100% EMS. Member’s dues money is carefully spent due to rigid not-for-profit laws that govern how NEMSA spends money. NEMSA is known for its community involvement and charity work within its local bargaining units.’

According to Wikipedia*, the online encyclopedia, the company was founded in 2004 and has 2200 members nationwide. The site states significant membership changes occurred between 2007 and the present, noting NEMSA lost approximately 4,765 members when eight companies switched to other unions.

Also noted was NEMSA’s federal LM-2 financial reports, showing NEMSA’s financial condition as of the end of the 2012 fiscal year: NEMSA claimed $12,372.00 in cash on hand and assets totaling $91,338.00 for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013. However, total reported liabilities of $695,236.00 (including $231,997.00 unpaid in accounts payable) was noted, leaving NEMSA with total net assets of negative $-603,898.00.

The Morrow County Firefighters and Squadsmen’s Association is a not-for-profit company who has a contract with the Morrow County Commissioners, but they are not county employees. The contract between the MCFFSA and NEMSA is a private collective bargaining contract and has no connection with the county. Whichever company is awarded the emergency services by the commissioners is under no obligation to hire the Squadsman’s Association to fill their personnel needs. Should 51% or more of the current employees be hired, though, the new company would have to retain the union.**

The commissioners have stated more than once their aim all along has been for the successful bidder to hire 75% or more of the current employees. Their hope, Commissioner Dick Miller said previously, was for the winning bidder to come in, continue current operations and increase pay and benefits. The original intent was to take better care of the employees and provide better service for the citizens.

All bids were in by 10 a.m. April 9, 2014 and four agencies submitted proposals. Knox County 9-1-1 was offering emergency dispatch service only, while MedFlight of Columbus, Morrow County Firefighters and Squadsmen’s Association, and Life Care Ambulance of Elyria (who recently formed ‘Morrow County EMS’ as its official emergency services organization for Morrow County) submitted bids on medical and dispatch services.

The Elyria company said if awarded the contract, they would make hiring current employees a ‘top priority unless prohibited by a collective bargaining agreement.’

MedFlight’s proposal stated their intent is to transfer employees to the new system assuming they pass background checks, drug testing and have an insurable driving record.

Knox County 9-1-1 would use a consolidated center in Mt. Vernon for Morrow and Knox County services but the current location might be used as a backup site.

The commissioners will be evaluating proposals over the next few months with Clemans Nelson & Associates of Dublin, Ohio (a management consulting service specializing in labor relations and human resource management) as well as with Morrow County Sheriff Steve Brenneman.

*Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism. Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or, if they choose to, with their real identity.

** Page 64, under ‘Successor Employer,’ Practical Law The Journal, Copyright © 2012 Practical Law Publishing Limited and Practical Law Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.morganlewis.com/pubs/June2012_LE_Issues.pdf

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