Ambulance company employees seek union vote

Feb. 10, 2014  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.


Ultimately, we just want a seat at the table. We want a voice.


Workers from Huron Valley Ambulance Company (HVA), the ambulance service company that provides services to Plymouth and Plymouth Township, have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to form a union with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. (AFSCME).

HVA employs more than 400 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics. The original internal organizer of the union vote, Trish McGrail, said that safety, respect and an elevation of the profession were the reasons for the request for unionization.

McGrail, an HVA road paramedic, said, “Ultimately, we just want a seat at the table. We want a voice. We are hoping for a binding agreement that benefits both the employees and the company.”

Employees will receive ballots today and NLRB representatives at the Detroit office will count votes on Feb. 25. Voting will be done by secret ballot in the mail.

Plymouth Township and the City of Plymouth officials utilize HVA as their designated provider of ambulance transport service, in place of the Plymouth Township Fire Department and Northville Fire Department in the city.

Unionization is not expected to have an impact on the services provided to the communities. Plymouth Township Fire Chief Mark Wendel said he doesn’t expect any impact.

“A union issue is between the employer and the employee.” Wendel said.

HVA bills and collects ambulance transport fees directly from patients and/or insurance carriers for services in both the city and township of Plymouth.

The company also contracts with several public and private organizations such as nursing homes, hospitals, and provides EMS service for special events.

Joyce Williams, the public affairs manager for Huron Valley Ambulance, said in a prepared statement, “Our employees, our patients, our customers and favorable business conditions determine the success of our organization, not a union.”

Williams also said that much of the success of HVA in providing healthcare and transportation services over the last 32 years is attributed to working directly and collaboratively with employees.

“While we respect the legal rights of our employees to decide whether they want union representation, we feel that our staff is best served through direct communication with leadership and not through a third party like AFSCME.”

|News Plymouth Michigan

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