Posts Tagged Peoria Firefighters Union Local 50

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Excerpts from

A clerical error could cost the city of Peoria upwards of $500,000 after an administrative law judge recommended nearly a dozen firefighters be reinstated and the two rescue trucks taken off line last year be reinstated.

And while those changes would be substantial, neither Peoria Firefighters Union Local 50 nor city hall believe the recommendation, handed down in late February, is the final say on the matter. In fact, the Peoria city attorney says the reasoning behind the decision was a clerical error — the city never responded to the unfair labor practice accusations from the union that sparked the case because the complaint and other documents were sent to an attorney’s old place of employment.

But, on the surface, the Feb. 27 ruling seems to be a total win for the union as it orders the city to:

– restore the staffing levels of the Peoria Fire Department to levels it was before May 21, 2018, when a series of brown-outs were instated to help with budgetary issues.

– compensate those who lost income by offering back pay to those who were eligible to work on the rescue squads.

– resume bargaining with the local over staffing and work conditions.

The city will, in essence, appeal and tell the state Labor Relations Board what it thinks the hearing officer got wrong. The ILRB will likely hear the case sometime later this year.

The union filed its complaint last summer in the wake of brown-outs that were ordered by city hall to help close a budgetary shortfall. Local 50 cried foul and said the brown-outs were an unfair labor practice in the wake of an agreement they had reached in late 2017 that eliminated some unfilled positions in return for keeping the fire apparatus online.

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The turf war between Advanced Medical Transport Inc. of Central Illinois and the Peoria Fire Department, dormant for many years, could be heating up again.

Nearly a decade ago, the two sparred over which entity would provide paramedic service and patient transport within the city limits. AMT reached an agreement with the city in which it was to pay $85,000, adjusted annually for inflation, for exclusive patient transport in Peoria. The agreement was modified in 2009 to allow the fire department to have three advanced life support engines.

Now the department wants a fourth ALS engine for House 19 on the city’s northwestern edge, which is near the new Louisville Slugger complex and The Shoppes at Grand Prairie. The cost is about $5,000. But [some] say … Peoria is fine with the services it has now.

Both Peoria Fire Chief Charles Lauss and Rick Waldron, president of Peoria Firefighters Union Local 50, said this is not an attempt to replace AMT

We have an agreement in place. … We cannot get into transport. There is a five-year notice that the Peoria Fire Department has to give to AMT to say we are getting into transport. We want to enhance our services and enhance what we are giving our community,” Lauss said.

Peoria firefighters can provide basic life support, and at present, only the three paramedics assigned to the ALS engines and AMT are at the ALS level. The union and the chief think adding a fourth ALS engine is a benefit for everyone and actually strengthens the relationship with AMT.

“We believe it is the best service possible for our citizens. It comes down to whether we get there first or AMT. As long as we get a medic there, that’s what counts,” said Waldron, who is a firefighter-paramedic.

But officials from AMT, a not-for-profit company that has provided ambulance service to the Peoria area for years, disagree. They say having too many paramedics can actually degrade services as there simply isn’t enough work to keep everyone proficient.

“Doing the best for the community isn’t doing everything, it’s doing the right things,” said Andrew Rand, AMT’s executive director.

He and others at AMT point to two letters written by the head of the Peoria Area Emergency Medical Services system last year addressing the so-called saturation of paramedics.

“Peoria currently has a paramedic saturation level of around 6.4 paramedics per 10,000 population, which is much higher than many other cities in the United States,” wrote Dr. Matthew Jackson last July in a letter to former Fire Chief Kent Tomblin. “It has been well studied and documented that increased paramedic saturation can actually lead to overall worse patient outcomes in key clinical situations such as cardiac arrest. The reasons for this primarily revolve around skills and knowledge degradation due to dilution of experience.”

Lauss disagrees and said the department’s 40-odd paramedics are well-trained.

“Our paramedics are getting all the training hours and the exposure that is required, for one thing. And even beyond that, a lot of these guys work for other agencies on their off days so they can practice some of those skills,” he said.


The request is pending before the PAEMS director and, after that, the City Council will likely take the idea up at a future meeting.

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