Employees of Prompt Ambulance Service voted this week 140-32 in favor of unionizing.
The bargaining unit, which joins the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics, will include 220 ambulance drivers, paramedics and emergency medical technicians. Prompt, based in Highland, is the Region’s largest private ambulance provider.
“We are very happy with the results of the election last night. We are happy to be a part of the IAEP organization,” EMT Zack Schaeffer said Wednesday. “We look forward to working with management to make Prompt the absolute best EMS service provider that it can be.”
If there are no objections to the vote, the Prompt collective bargaining unit will be one of the largest to form in the Region in recent years. In 2014, Prompt employees voted against joining the Teamsters union.
“They do a professional job over there as medics,” said Dan Murchek, president of the Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor. “They deserve a fair and competitive wage.”
Murchek said union membership has been on the rise in Indiana, in what he called a backlash to the governor and Legislature’s anti-labor push.
Prompt CEO Gary Miller said he doesn’t foresee any major changes taking place at Prompt as a result of the vote, particularly because the other IAEP contracts he’s seen are in line with what the company already offers.
“Obviously we’ve always taken pride in our employees and the ability to work with them,” he said. “We would have preferred to work with them directly, however we’re basically just glad to get this behind us so we can start concentrating on our service again.”
In recent years, several local communities have outsourced their ambulance services to Prompt to cut costs by eliminating their own departments, which sometimes are union represented. Prompt, which was founded in 1988, serves Dyer, East Chicago, Griffith, Highland, Munster, Merrillville, Lake Station and Calumet Township.
IAEP recently filed three complaints of unfair labor practices against Prompt for alleged anti-union tactics. In addition, Prompt is currently in private mediation with three former employees who sued it last year over unpaid overtime pay.