You Said It: UF ShandsCair Paramedics and Dispatchers Unionize

AFSCME Florida’s newest members are air, ground and emergency department paramedics and dispatchers who rescue our sickest Floridians between Pensacola to the Villages, with trips overseas as medical necessity dictates. Hear about their work and decision to unionize from several news stories.

UF Shands paramedics, dispatchers unionize

chopper 100 borderFlight paramedic Scott Coker, a 15-year veteran of the unit: "We land on highways when there is an automobile wreck, go get someone on an ECMO machine when COVID-19 has compromised their heart and lung function and even fly to Mexico or the Caribbean to rescue American citizens who have medical emergencies on their travels. Our Paramedics have immense knowledge bases and extensive professional development continuing education, but we are not being treated with the respect we deserve and the longer we work here, the greater our pay disparity grows. We have voted to form a union to bargain with the corporate office to recognize our skills and expertise with a fair contract and pay increases.”

AFSCME Florida President and International Vice President Vicki Hall: “We will be calling on the employer to prioritize negotiations and expedite a mutually agreeable first contract for these dedicated, skilled first responders."

From: Main Street Daily News, Sept. 2, 2022

Select UF Health Shands dispatchers, paramedics unanimously vote to unionize

alligator 100 with borderFlight paramedic Heath Schmidt:The union aims to set wages that will attract the high-caliber applicants Shands demands to upkeep its services. Shands paramedics must know how to perform a variety of complex medical procedures in flight, and to retain a staff equipped with that knowledge. The salary has to match the skillset. We really want to increase and be recognized as a professional and be paid what we should be getting paid.

From: Heather Bushman, Florida Independent Alligator, September 4, 2022

UF Health flight, ground paramedics vote to unionize amid compensation concerns 

sun 100 borderJohn East, a flight paramedic and team leader: "We all love this team and have a tremendous amount of pride in working here. We’re just trying to help our admin understand some of our struggles and help them get us to a happier and safer place.”

Nat Bender, AFSCME Florida Communications: “In the framework of the great resignation, people are looking closely at what they’re being asked to do and reevaluating the potential for career advancement, doing meaningful work and staying safe.”

From: Javon L. Harris, The Gainesville Sun, Sept. 6, 2022