Friday, Aug. 20, 2004 | 11:08 a.m.
American Medical Response, one of the Las Vegas Valley's ambulance companies, has settled some labor charges, agreeing that it would not prohibit employees from displaying union support.
Other charges are still pending against the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based company that has been in an ongoing dispute with the Service Employees International Union Local 1107.
As part of the settlement, AMR said it would inform its employees that they have a right to unionize and have a union bargain on their behalf.
The company also agreed not to retaliate against employees who show union support nor prohibit employees from wearing or displaying any union insignia.
"We have agreed to not make our solicitation policy as restrictive as it was being interpreted to be," said Gerry Hart, AMR director of operations for Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado,
In a separate set of charges filed by the SEIU on June 7, AMR allegedly refused to bargain in good faith by failing to comply with an information request made by the union. AMR also allegedly refused to bargain in good faith by requiring ground rules to negotiate.
The National Labor Relations Board investigated the charges and filed a complaint Aug. 2 that alleges that AMR set ground rules as a condition for bargaining, which are are not mandatory for collective bargaining, and refused to provide information to the SEIU.
SEIU Local 1107 Executive Director Jane McAlevey said the union requested information about the workers' pay rates, health insurance and wages.
Hart said AMR did respond to the union's information request, but he is uncertain whether it was being sent to the wrong people or if the information is not what the union wanted.
"We're moving forward with a hearing on Oct. 5 and I think that's good news," he said. "We consider our employees our most important asset so whatever it is going to take to make them satisfied and happy, we'll strive to that end."
AMR would be willing to sign a labor contract on behalf of its employees if the company and union could agree on the terms of the contract, AMR spokesman Chris Ferrari said.
AMR and the SEIU have been trading charges through the NLRB office in Las Vegas since the majority of AMR's paramedics and medical technicians voted in favor of union representation in May 2002. The union and AMR have met once to negotiate since the workers voted for the union.
The SEIU represents AMR employees in some other markets including California, Florida and Connecticut. It represents nurses at University Medical Center, Desert Springs, Valley and Sunrise hospitals. It also represents technicians at Desert Springs Hospital and health employees at Clark County Health District.