Gold cross strike called off, but paramedics still want raise

Imperial Valley

Gold cross strike called off, but paramedics still want raise

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EL CENTRO, Calif. (13 On Your Side)- Gold Cross Paramedics in Imperial County will not go on strike tomorrow.

The company finally agreed to meet with the union, avoiding dozens of paramedics from walking off the job.

The issue? Paramedics at Gold Cross want a $1.00 pay raise.

But both sides are keeping a tight lip on the negotiations.

13 On Your Side tried talking to paramedics to get the latest on negotiations, but they're not talking.

In fact, Union President Phil Farias sent 13 On Your Side a text message informing the media that paramedics could be fired if Gold Cross did not like what they have to say.

But we spoke to one person who is giving voice for her sister, who is a paramedic.

Our source does not want to be identified in an effort to protect her sister from getting fired.

She tells 13 On Your Side her sister claims she is overworked and underpaid.

She says paramedics want a $1.00 raise which would increase their hourly pay to $10.00 an hour.

Plus, they want better health care benefits and better vehicles.

She claims Gold Cross is forcing paramedics to drive long distances in ambulances that are unsafe and equipped with worn-out tires.

"They don't have air conditioning in a lot of the ambulances in the back, so the patients are sweating... its miserable in there," says 13 On Your Side's anonymous source.

"A lot of them need to be constantly serviced because the tires are bad, the brakes are bad, there's never ending mechanical problems with these ambulances. Always. They've driven to San Diego and have gotten flat tires because tires were bald."

Union representative Phil Farias tells me: If the union and Gold Cross cannot reach a labor deal by tomorrow - paramedics will go on strike within 10 days.