Gold Cross strikers to vote on new labor deal

Imperial Valley

Gold Cross strikers to vote on new labor deal

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EL CENTRO, CA (13 On Your Side) - After 25 days on strike, Gold Cross Ambulance Service and the paramedic's union have reached a tentative deal.

Up to 60 paramedics and EMTs will vote Friday to approve a final deal.  

A 15- year veteran EMT tells 13 On Your Side she doesn't know specific details but the union tells her the new deal isn't favorable.

Nancy Reeves has been out on the picket line almost every day since day one of the strike.

It's now day 25 and Reeves says she's been anxiously waiting for a better labor deal.

"We just want to get back to work. We're not asking to be rich. we just want a fair contract."

 But after hearing about the union's disapproval on Tuesday's negotiations with Gold Cross, she is disappointed the company has not been able to offer her and her co-workers more than they deserve.

"It's pretty sad when I've spent 15 years of my life here. A lot of my co-workers have been here 25 years. We put our heart and soul into this place."

During negotiations with a federal mediator two weeks ago, both sides were $0.27 apart.

The union wanted $2.23 but the company last offered $1.96. 

13 On Your Side spoke with Gold Cross owner, Jimmy McNeal, who could not tell us how much of a pay raise the company offered - but he does say they agreed upon a reasonable wage with the union.  

McNeal says the new labor deal offers what the company can afford - considering other factors such as state reimbursement from MediCal and mandatory purchases to run a business.

"There are situations that are beyond our control and we need their understanding that there are other financial situations that we just have no way of changing."

We asked union president Phil Farias what would be the next step if strikers vote turn down the new proposal.

Farias says the union will have to step up their tactics.

"At this point, we're going to have to really start putting tremendous pressure on the county. To intervene, to end it. That's going to involve trying to create coalition with different community groups"

 As for Reeves, she says come Friday - if she doesn't agree with the new deal, she will not budge from the picket line.

AS FOR REEVES – SHE SAYS – COME FRIDAY IF SHE DOESN'T AGREE WITH THE NEW DEAL – SHE WILL NOT BUDGE.

"I'm here till the end. I will not cross."