Suffolk County EMS
Nassau and Suffolk Statement
For about 6 months, a group of NCPD-EAB, Northwell, and Firehouse based EMS in Nassau and Suffolk have been quietly working to bring the EMSPAC organization to Long Islands approximately 50,000 EMS MOS.
We are launching new EMSPAC initiatives specific to the Long Island EMS systems.
Inside the EMSPAC “chain of command and responsibility” Nassau is called D-6 and Suffolk D-7.
An emerging leadership is currently assessing the strategy for ongoing organizing. Having an equal Deputy/Advocate composition that is even parts Northwell, NCPD, Firehouse based and VAC is the ultimate goal.
45% of Nassau Calls are managed by the NCPD-EAB, 40% by Northwell, 15% VAC or Fire House based EMS.
Things are completely different from the City. There are way more fire house based EMS. There are many that pay per diem medics. Some dual FF-EMS are in IAFF. There are way more VACs including many that also partially pay medics.
In Nassau there is NCPD-EAP police based EMS around 200 medics in Nassau in CSEA Local 830. Northwell is a major hospital employer. It may have as many as 800 non-union EMS.
Hunter GMR is AMRs new foothold in the NYC area. SCEMS has transport bases in Lynwood and second due in Long Beaches 911 system. EAS/RCA and Ambulanz are large private minimal wage companies with bases in Nassau and Suffolk.
Nassau and Suffolk have been broken up into 16 organizing zones based on highways and fire districts. We have only a few official Advocates. We have cut each county North/South/East/ West and are seeking deputies for each Battalion. Then Cut down Route 112.
Every system is different. Suffolk is always short on volunteers and more paid posts are coming. The way EMS is deployed between one county and the next varies radically.
Biggest Nassau: Northwell, EAB, Oceanside FD, Syosset FD, Jericho FD.
Biggest Suffolk: Brentwood Legion, Huntington, Community, Bayshore Brightwater, Stony Brook EMS is in a state union.
The biggest issues are
- Wages, Benefits, and full time work.
- Ending the “Suffolk shuffle” (working lots of separate VAC/Firehouse based medic per diems) and professionalizing EMS in Nassau and Suffolk.
- Phasing out the slowly dying VAC system, especially in Suffolk.
- Arbitrary and stupid fire district rules. (Nassau has 9 battalion areas/Suffolk has 10 )
- Aspiration for a large singular EMS union.
The largest employer is non-union Northwell with around 800-1000 EMS MOS. Followed by NCPD-EAB with around 200 in the CSEA Local 830. They are a single Medi-PD based system. There are around 50 Suffolk County FF/EMS medics in the IAFF. The biggest privates are SCEMS, Ambulnz, EAS and Hunter-GMR. Hunter may still be with Local 22, a mafia front union. The biggest hospital based EMS agencies are Northwell, Stonybrook, NUMC to a much lesser degree and non-union NYU Wingate.
So far, there has been a lot less Long Island interest in hardship help, and more in labor organizing. Also a lot of fear about joining EMSPAC openly exists at Northwell CEMS. There are a lot of volunteer ambulance groups, Most of which also work in paid EMS. Volunteering is a far more normal part of EMS in Long Island. It has been so far recommended that we don’t concentrate on the VAC initially. “As they do not have enough skin in the game, as you are seeing in the city.” As we have seen in the City; the VAC system is dying and frankly kind of hostile to the big tent labor populism of EMSPAC. The majority of VAC in both City and LI are a retirement activity for aging buffs, or a way for rookies to break in: not a critical provider of EMS 911 units, not a reliable resource. There are VACs that pay per diem medics and paid FDs that pay medics too. A new law lets VAC & FD based EMS bill. There are big implications for this and for more hiring of EMS.
Northwell vs. EAB is really a big divide. More so Northwell supervisors vs. the EAB, but uniting these services is seen as a critical strategy on the LI Front. 1199 is not interested in EMS not working for hospitals or Long Island EMS. EMS is an afterthought to them. Northwell workers have passed on 1199 now twice in elections. They are currently being courted by Teamsters (who represent Lifeline and Midwood Ambulance) and CSEA (who represent NCPD-EAB). The Teamsters are not known to care about EMS, until very recently. They are one of the largest unions in America and have absorbed around 20,000 EMS around the country into a largely Truck Drivers union. CSEA wants both private and hospital based EMS. It has recently unionized Nova and Bangs, private Ambulance groups near Ithaca.
The IAFF is mostly in Dix Hills/ Long Beach/Terryville FD. The IAFF is one of most successful first responder lobbies in America today. We seek an alliance with the largely FF union which may represent tens of thousands of EMS all over the country and aid us in building bonds with FF.
EMSPAC needs a big LI BBQ, and to set up a table at sites like Vital Signs NYS. We need numbers to reduce fear. LI EMS wants full time employment, one EMS union, an end to arbitrary and stupid fire district rules, and an end to things like the “EMS Janitor”. Roll back the VAC, replace them with employed FT professionals.