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Officials prepare for strike by EMTs

July 29, 2007

About 1,000 employees of a private ambulance company that serves 40 communities in Maine, New Hampshire, and Eastern Massachusetts are threatening to strike tomorrow if union and company negotiators cannot reach contract agreement today.

"This is not a decision our workforce has taken lightly," said Torren Colcord, president of the National Emergency Medical Services Association, which represents American Medical Response employees. "They have a heartfelt desire to serve the community -- their families live here, too. AMR has backed them so far up against the wall, they feel this is their only option."

An AMR spokeswoman said the company plans to keep negotiating.

"We are going to back to the bargaining table" today, Deborah Hileman said. "The company is committed to bargaining in good faith and reaching an agreement that is fair and equitable to both parties."

If the talks are not successful, she said, the company has a contingency plan to cover for the potential loss of paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and dispatchers.

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