What is United EMS Workers-AFSCME Local 4911?
United EMS Workers, Local 4911 affiliate of AFSCME, AFL-CIO, is a union organized by and made up of 100% private sector EMS workers. It is entirely locally run, locally administered, and locally funded. Our mission is to raise standards in EMS and protect services for the public.
What is AFSCME?
AFSCME is the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. It was started in 1932 in Wisconsin to represent state employees during the Depression. Since that time, AFSCME has grown in size and diversity. It currently represents 1.6 million members nationwide in private and public services. AFSCME is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and represents about 24,000 EMS workers in both the public and private sectors.
Who does AFSCME represent?
AFSCME represents a wide range of public service employees across the country – 1.6 million Americans in all - including EMTs, paramedics, nurses, law enforcement officers, teachers, civil engineers, and many others.
One of the largest EMS workforces in the United States, the 3500-member Uniformed EMTs and Paramedics of the FDNY, Local 2507, is represented by AFSCME. So are EMS workers around the country like those at Local 3911 in New Castle, Delaware. AFSCME represents both public and private sector workers.
Why are we organizing now?
For our families, our communities, our profession. We need to protect and improve EMS for the public and negotiate strong contracts that protect members’ working conditions.
What are these cards I’m being asked to sign?
The cards you may have seen are a statement of intent to form a new union. It allows the government to hold an election in order for members to choose the kind of representation they want. Once a sufficient number of cards are collected, we will petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The cards will be sent to the NLRB for verification. No other concerned parties are informed of the card signers’ identity, choice or intent. All of your information on that card is private. It remains protected in the hands of the NRLB and the UEMSW. Click here for more information on collective bargaining laws.
Does AFSCME represent private sector workers?
Yes. AFSCME represents workers across the spectrum all over the country including private and public sector EMS workers. AFSCME locals protect and fight for their members. ANY position on private/public issues that directly affect our local is decided at the local level. For example, UEMSO/FDNY Local 3621 AFSCME takes a position for the accommodation of its membership that chose to work at private EMS agencies. Each Local is guided by their particular constitution that is drafted and amended by the vote of the respective membership. As a private sector EMS local providing public services, we will protect the jobs of our members and work with our employer to prevent union jobs from going to non union competitors.
Are my dues going to be funding political parties?
No. ASFCME PEOPLE is a voluntary program that members can donate private funds to support AFSCME’s Political Action agenda. It enables our union to be strong politically and helps enact legislative programs that protect our jobs. To quote AFSCME PEOPLE,
“Federal election law and some state laws prohibit using dues for campaign contributions and other political activities."
Unions traditionally endorse politicians and issues that are sympathetic to labor/union causes, AFSCME is no different. However, each Local can amend or submit clauses in their respective constitutions providing guidance on how best to approach political agendas be it a particular position, or no position to be taken as submitted to and voted on by the membership. United EMS Workers will be no different. Furthermore, for any political or ideological expenditure that is not prohibited by law, the AFSCME constitution (Article IX, Sec 14) provides a process for members who object to those kinds of expenditures to be sent rebates.
What does AFSCME do to combat corruption?
AFSCME International has honest leadership that has served in office for many years without incident. AFSCME International, however, has at times discovered and disclosed corruption in very few of its 3700 Locals. Such improper acts, when discovered, have been dealt with promptly by AFSCME. Any offending officials were reported to the USDOL for investigation and subsequent prosecution. Robust oversight of union activities and leaders occurs on multiple levels within AFSCME, from the executive board at the local level on up. United EMS Workers will be no different with oversight provided by guidance from the International AND Local Constitutions. If corruption is found in AFSCME, the internal judicial process takes over and can lead to indictment, and arrest.