Yesterday representatives of the Local I-60 met with several members of management for a presentation of the company’s new deployment plan — specifically for the West Valley of Phoenix, and Central Arizona’s Interfacilty market.

During the meeting, management presented it’s plan to optimize staffing to be more efficient for customer demands, and as a necessary step to shed approximately $1.5 million in costs to “make budget.”

As part of their proposal for West Valley, management is proposing that the twenty-four hour shifts be eliminated with the exception of those contractually required (14 in West Valley). They also propose that new shifts be built which range from working 3 12’s per week to 3 12’s week one and 4 12’s week two (3/4 split).

While this may have a guise of being more efficient, it is yet another slap in the face to the field employees who provide exceptional care and service to our communities. For some employees, this would mean a potential annual pay cut of $16,103 (EMT on 24-hour shift going to 3×12’s/wk). Instead of taking home $36,807.68 a year on 24 hour shifts, the company is proposing that you provide for your family with potentially $20,704 a year.  This proposal is in addition to the company’s current proposal to freeze wages for five years.

Other area’s of Rural Metro throughout the country have variable pay rates that depend on your schedule — people on 12’s get less hours but more money per hour, people on 24’s get less per hour but more hours, such that at the end of the year, the schedules are roughly the same income.

This is a process that the Union has been demanding for several years now, including during contract negotiations and in every meeting where we’ve discussed schedules and hours of work — only to have Rural Metro’s management team adamantly oppose the ‘blended pay’.

During management’s presentation yesterday, the Union requested the the 10×4, 8×5, and 12×3 shifts be removed from management’s proposal as they are absolutely unacceptable. We also proposed that, should management force this change, some shifts be combined to make larger shifts (such as two 8’s to make a 16) so that employees would get, at minimum, 48 hours each week, rather than the proposed 36 or 40 hours a week from management.

Should any of this come to reality, we are also exploring the impact of a system-wide re-bid for Central Arizona. There is still a lot of information to be presented, questions to be answered, and scenarios to be explored.