With the millions of dollars being spent on ballot initiatives this fall, it’s sometimes hard to discern what’s really going on. That’s certainly the case with Prop 11, a cynical ploy by one very large corporation – American Medical Response – to undermine basic protections for first responders.
Jeff Misner, an AFSCME member who worked as a paramedic for 10 years, breaks it down in a new opinion piece for CalMatters (scroll to bottom for his piece).
Currently, state law requires that employees working 12-hour shifts are eligible to take a 30-minute break every 5- 6 hours, separated from our work.
Unpaid meal periods must meet certain requirements or else they are considered an on-duty meal period, which is counted as time worked and then the employee must be paid.
Since we do not have designated rest and meal spaces, you see us taking our breaks on street corners, in a restaurant, or in our ambulances, all the while listening to our radios for an emergency.
When we are dispatched for an emergency, we’re legally entitled to receive compensation for the interruption. However, American Medical Response wants to avoid properly compensating its workers for their on-duty meal and rest periods.
In other words, this proposition seeks to allow one private ambulance company to abuse the initiative process and taxpayer dollars to let themselves off the hook for violating the rights of its employees.
So, in other words, this massive profitable company is using the ballot initiative process in an effort to strip first responders of rights all workers depend upon. That’s dangerous to public safety, harmful to first responders and threatens all workers by creating a precedent for any large corporation to spend big money at the ballot to strip rights that we’ve earned.
At the end of the day, it’s clear that the only thing Proposition 11 really does is to protect AMR’s bottom line, at the expense of emergency medical services workers and, ultimately, you. Please reject this cynical initiative. It threatens your safety.
Join the California Labor Federation and unions across the state in Voting NO on Prop 11!