The Difference Between Professional Advocacy and Unionism
In the comments to a previous post, Brendan writes (beginning by quoting me):
I simply don’t believe that communities would begrudge them ample provisions, remuneration, and benefits no matter their employment structure.
Entirely too trusting Justin. Look at West Warwick and Johnston- running two men per truck when NFPA calls for 4. Look at Providence- Captains with 20 years in making less than a first-day recruit in Warwick.
Whatever government can get away with, they’ll do it. Same goes for privatization. I’ve been inside the trucks of every private ambulance company in this state- NONE of them have the equipment necessary to effectively respond to 911 calls, because in Rhode Island they aren’t REQUIRED to.
Private companies running EMS works in other states because the minimum equipment standards are different. That is to say, far higher.
It would be entirely appropriate for emergency professionals to organize in order to advocate for changes that will improve their operations. If Rhode Island’s ambulances are ill equipped, then a guild — which could, let’s not overlook, include regular ol’ interested citizens — could surely make strides in changing the law. If firefighters lack safety equipment, then attempts to increase public understanding and pressure for political and administrative change is justified.
It is when personal profit enters into the equation that the tendency for corruption begins to sift into the group. That is also, not unrelatedly, when interested outsiders are locked beyond a wall of mutual self-interest. It begins to be less assumable that the interests of those being served are of primary focus.
Part of the problem with EMS in Rhode Island is that no one works in the EMS office anymore. There are 2 full time people there now when there used to be more than 10. Routine paperwork takes forever and they haven’t issued a printed EMT license since 1998. If changes are to be made, I’d look there first. Before the next round of 1,000 cut backs turn the office over to self-service voice mail.