Gold Cross employees hold strong as they continue to strike

Imperial Valley

Gold Cross employees hold strong as they continue to strike

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EL CENTRO, CA (13 On Your Side) - Paramedics with Gold Cross Ambulance in Imperial Valley continue to hold string on day three of their strike.

Neither side is showing signs of reaching a new labor deal.

60 paramedics continue to walk the picket line. Many of them tell 13 On Your Side they'll stay out for as long as it takes.

They say they are fighting for a pay raise, better working conditions, and better healthcare benefits. 

John Bisi is a veteran paramedic with Gold Cross. He has worked with the company for over 20 years and makes $14 an hour. 

Bisi says all he wants is $1 pay raise over a two year contract.  He says, until he gets that, he won't put down his picket sign.

"As long as it takes. No matter if it's a month because it's got to change."

We asked Bisi why the union didn't accept the company's last offer of $1 pay raise over a five year contract.  

"We looked at what they were offering San Diego and LA divisions and that's what they start at. They start at a higher rate than we do. We work for the same company, why aren't we earning the same amount – the same amount starting pay?"

Bisi says he's not only fighting for himself, but for future paramedics who want to earn a living in the Valley.  

"We have a local college that has a paramedic program, an EMT program – what chances are those guys going to have to have a career here?"

This strike also includes emergency medical technicians and dispatchers - like Flavio Grijalva.  

He's been an emergency dispatcher for seven years and gets paid a little more than $10 an hour.

Right now, Grijalva says, he is pulling money out of savings to make ends meet because the union can't pay strikers until two weeks they are officially on strike.

"It's a stipend. But the stipend only takes effect after being 14 days on strike."

Despite his financial circumstances, Grijalva says he'll stand strong.  

"I'm  out here right now. Just has a wisdom tooth extraction yesterday but I'm here. We have to do this. There's no breaks. we just have to support and we have to go through this." 

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