An article in Saturday’s newspaper says Employees of Alstar EMS are hoping to receive an increase in pay as contract talks with the company have stalled.
According to the article, the starting wage for an Alstar EMT in 2014 was 31 percent over the state’s minimum wage, while starting pay for a paramedic was 70 percent over minimum wage. Five years later, EMTs reportedly now earn 4 percent above minimum wage while paramedics earn 37 percent over.
New York State began raising the minimum wage during the past three years and it now sits at $11.10, with another increase of 70 cents planned at the end of this year.
Because of wages at Alstar not keeping pace with minimum wage hikes, workers have started to leave for other less-demanding jobs that pay similar wages. As a result, there’s been a shortage of employees with the company.
According to officials with Alstar, in 2018 the company received 20,000 requests for service but could only answer 16,000 of them because of low staffing levels.
Despite employees saying there has been a shortage of workers, the AlStar EMS website currently has no positions open on its job postings page, as of Monday, April 22.
The current contract for Alstar workers ends Dec. 31, 2019 and includes a no strike clause.
Workers at Alstar are tentatively scheduled to take part in an informational picket in early May outside Alstar’s training center on East Third Street in Jamestown.
Alstar EMS is the largest provider of emergency services in Chautauqua County.