(SEATTLE) – There could be an unfair labor practices strike of nearly 450 EMTs and paramedics who work for private equity giant KKR’s [NYSE: KKR] American Medical Response (AMR) and who provide emergency medical services to the greater Seattle area tomorrow, December 21.
Many of these trained health care professionals, who provide life-saving services to the community, have had to turn to charity services to cover their own family’s medical expenses because they cannot afford decent coverage.
KKR bought American Medical Response in 2017 with the help of hundreds of millions in capital investments made by the Washington State Board of Investment (WSBI). Over the years, WSBI has committed more than $9 billion to KKR managed funds. AMR is now a subsidiary of Air Medical Group Holdings, which KKR acquired in 2015 through the same fund.
On November 30, the workers, members of Teamsters Local 763, rejected a contract offer from AMR by an overwhelming majority (310-46). Since then, KKR’s management has refused to return to the bargaining table.
“It’s shocking that after all Washington families have invested in KKR that they would put their bottom line over the health and safety of the greater Seattle community,” said Scott Sullivan, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 763.
“My co-workers and I have dedicated our professional careers to providing emergency health care for our communities,” said Sandy Tate, a seven-year EMT at AMR. “We just also want to be able to afford decent health coverage for our families.”
“Refusing to bargain in good-faith, particularly while a potential strike of paramedics and EMTs hangs in the balance, reflects poorly on KKR’s management and raises important questions about who benefits from the operations of essential public services,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.