Gadsden Etowah EMS workers walk off the job

GADSDEN, Ala. (WIAT) – A dozen rescue workers walk off the job after their paychecks bounce. Employees say it was the final straw after nearly a month and half of not being paid.

Workers tell CBS 42 that it’s been nothing but turbulent times and broken promises at Gadsden Etowah EMS. That even though they’re leaving the company, they’re not leaving the people in the city in jeopardy.

“EMS people are a special breed of people,” says one medic who doesn’t want to be identified. “It takes a special person to do this.”

And although he won’t give us his name, it’s not hard to hear the passion in his voice that he has for his patients.

“If you can make a difference in someone’s life,” he says, “to extend their life or make them smile. You know you’re making a positive change for that patient.”

That’s why he says it was so hard for him and about a dozen other company medics, dispatchers and staff to walk out of the Gadsden Etowah EMS building and not answer any more calls.

“There’s no telling what corporate will do or what the owner will do,” he says. “I don’t know. Nobody knows. But as far as I’m concerned and everybody else here, we’re done.”

His fellow brothers and sisters in blue at Gadsden Fire understand.

“They’re there to earn a paycheck and to be able to support their families,” says Gadsden Fire Department Assistant Chief Robert Maltbie. “And at some point, I understand they haven’t been paid for about six weeks, so I can understand their point of view.”

Rural MetroFor now all ambulance calls will be handled by RuralMetro, who also operates in the city, so the people of Gadsden will be covered at all times.

“Someone will be there for your call and we’ll give the appropriate treatment,” says Maltbie. “And then an ambulance service will show up and transport to whatever hospital that patient chooses to go to.”

Now with that extra RuralMetro ambulance operating in Gadsden they are not leaving another portion of the county unmanned. They actually brought on an additional crew on staff to ensure the city of Gadsden was covered. We attempted to reach out to the owners of Gadsden Etowah EMS but they have yet to return our calls. The fate of their contract with the city will most likely be decided at this coming Tuesday’s city council meeting.

2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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