Gambling With EMS

It’s no secret that unions are consistent opponents of privatization. Public employee unions offer high wages and generous pension plans–benefits members fear losing through privatization. However, with ongoing deficits and staggering pension obligations, state and local governments are being forced to find new, more efficient means of service delivery. Indeed, many state and local officials around the nation have commissioned critical analyses of government services. [See recent New Jersey report here]

However, for one local union, the review process itself poses a threat. Following a lengthy contract dispute with Firefighters Local 1285, the City of Las Vegas has agreed not to commission studies on privatizing its emergency medical services. The informal two-year agreement accompanied the contract, approved 5-1 by the city council. City Manager Betsy Fretwell argued that the agreement, “tells the firefighters we have faith in them.”