Service & Solidarity Spotlight: AFSCME’s Saunders: Help EMS Workers Help Our Communities by Ensuring Safe Staffing

EMS workers, members of AFSCME Local 4911

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service & Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders released the following statement in honor of National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week:

“When disaster strikes, EMS professionals are the first on the scene. Through fires, storms, car accidents, health emergencies and more, our communities depend on their bravery to get us through crisis—and they always deliver. We cannot thank them enough for their tireless service to our communities.
“However, while EMS professionals do lifesaving work every day, severe staffing shortages are stretching them dangerously thin. They are working exhaustingly long hours, leading to burnout and high turnover rates. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of EMS job openings will continue to grow by about 20,000 annually in the coming years. There’s no sugarcoating it: the increase in EMS vacancies will mean an increase in lives lost.
“We have the resources to solve this problem, and it starts with getting EMS workers the pay they deserve, along with improved safety standards and a protected voice on the job. This will help turn EMS into a more sustainable career, keeping workers from leaving this honorable field and attracting other skilled, passionate individuals. To help EMS workers help our communities, we need to take steps to staff the front lines.”