Fire Fighters Union Wants To Absorb EMS Workers—Who Happen To Be Teamsters

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The Louisville Fire Fighters’ union has plan to absorb EMS jobs, which happen to be represented by the Teamsters.

LOUISVILLE, KY—With a $65 million budget deficit because of pension problems and cuts needing to be made in Louisville’s city budget, the president of the Louisville Professional Firefighters, a local branch of the International Association of Fire Fighters, made a proposal to merge the city’s EMS department with the fire department.

“When you look at the fire department here, we’re all EMTs,” Brian O’Neill, the president of Louisville Professional Firefighters, told Louisville’s Metro Council. “We make the emergency responses as it is.”

O’Neill told the council it would save the city up to $3 million per year.

However, John Stovall, President of Teamsters Local 783—which represents the city’s EMS workers—is not buying O’Neill’s pitch.

“The only way you’re going to save money is to cut salaries or lay people off,” Stovall told the council.

“They don’t fight fires part-time, and then they don’t play EMS,” Stovall said of the workers he represents. “They do nothing but EMS, and they provide a service that saves the citizens of Louisville, and they do it better than anyone in the city of Louisville can do.”

“It’s a core part of our mission,” he said. “If you [look] at the number of runs — the emergency runs — that we go out on as firefighters, they’re about 75 to 80 percent medical, so we’re making the runs already.”

The city has already asked all city unions to freeze wages. However, nothing has been agreed to yet.


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