Manatee EMT workers vote to join union

skennedy@bradenton.comDecember 19, 2012 

MANATEE — Manatee County EMTs and paramedics have overwhelmingly voted in favor of union representation.

The final vote in an election held among county emergency workers came to 74 in favor, seven against and 1 challenged ballot, according to Michael Stone, director of organizing for the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics.

At issue was whether county employees would be represented by the union. Voting by mail began Nov. 29 and concluded Wednesday, he said.

During budget hearings last summer, some of the county emergency medical service workers complained about inadequate salaries and shrinking benefits.

A similar vote earlier this month among Manatee County Sheriff Office’s rank-and-file deputies to let a union handle salary negotiations did not pass.

Had the measure passed, the Florida Police Benevolent Association could have provided collective bargaining for deputies below the rank of sergeant in the areas of patrol, courts and administration, according to Matt Puckett, executive director of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, at the time.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.

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