Friday, September 28, 2018

PROP 11

State labor law requires employers to provide workers an unpaid 30-minute meal break during each work shift and a paid 10-minute rest break every four hours. However, this has not been the case for EMTs and Paramedics, whose breaks may be interrupted by 911 calls. These workers are, essentially, "on call" throughout their entire shift.

In 2016, the CA Supreme Court ruled that on-call breaks violate state labor law, and employers must provide breaks that are not interruptible, even if an emergency occurs.

This change will significantly raise the costs for private ambulance companies, who provide 75 percent of all ambulance rides. This will, in turn, raise insurance costs.

Prop 11 would exempt EMTs and paramedics from the labor law by requiring that they remain on-call during breaks. In exchange, the ambulance companies would ensure that meal breaks (1) not be during the first or last hour of a shift, and (2) be spaced at least two hours apart. In addition, the companies would be required to provide long-term mental health counseling and services for their employees.

This all sounds reasonable, no? However, the measure contains a provision that would absolve the ambulance companies of any liability they might have incurred since the 2016 ruling, when they knew they were breaking the law and kept doing it anyway. Attempts to settle the dispute in the legislature were nearly successful, but they hung up on this issue of full immunity.

This measure was almost entirely funded by the ambulance company American Medical Response (AMR). They should be back in the legislature, negotiating in good faith, not scaring the voters with public safety claims.

Your Political Friend is voting NO.


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