Breaking

9-Year-Old Boy Dies After Being Shot in Head in Croixville Housing Community; Police Detain 15-Year-Old

Concerned Residents Clean Christiansted Town Using Their Own Tools, Money, and Some Help from the VI Fire Service

Territory May See Veterans Cemetery Through DeGazon-Sponsored Bill

Credit and Debit Cards of WAPA Customers Were Compromised Since August 30th, WAPA Says, Authority to Finally Start Issuing Notification Via Mail and Email

Sports Tourism in VI Gains Momentum as DC United Team is set to Play Exhibition Soccer Game on St. Croix

Carnival Breeze Brings 3,700 Tourists to St. Croix During Maiden Call; Senators, Tourism Officials Want to See More

Limetree Bay Willing To Provide $10 Million To Help Add Life to a Dying G.E.R.S.

American Airlines to Serve St. Croix With New Flights Next Summer

The Sudden Death of Influential Roots Reggae Visionary, Vaughn Benjamin of Midnite Band and Akae Beka, Has Rocked the Virgin Islands and Reggae Community Around the World

Arthur A. Richards K-8 School Hosts Anti-Bullying Campaign

Come Out. Hang Out. Have Fun at The Meat Up, One of St. Thomas’ Latest Hot-Spot for Good Food with Friends and Family.

UVI Board of Trustees Approves $47.1 Million Fiscal Year 2020 Budget; Sets $3 Million Fundraising Goal

Man Dies During Early Morning Car Accident on St. Croix; Driver of Car Arrested (Updated)

'You Did Everything You Could to Prevent this from Happening': An Emotional Goodbye to Young Aaron Benjamin

Back in Business: Cost U Less on St. Thomas Opened its Doors Friday to Thousands of Customers 2 Years after Irma and Maria

Bill Aimed at Regulating Credit Use by Gov't Departments and Agencies Among Others Held in Committee

Juan Luis Hospital Announces Completion and Availability of Mobile Dialysis Facilities

Tractor Trailer With Tank Carrying Thousands Of Gallons of Liquified Gas Flips Near Cool Out Bar; Driver Injured But Alive

Credit and Debit Card Hack Through WAPA Appears to be Widespread in Virgin Islands; WAPA Says Support Services Will be Made Available to Affected Customers

Facing Life in Prison Without Parole, Mother and Boyfriend Plead Not Guilty in Murder of 4-Year-Old Boy

EMTs Territory-Wide Stage Sick Out In Wage Increase Protest Action; Health Commissioner Vows To Rectify Matter Quickly

Breaking News / Featured / Health / News / Top Stories / Virgin Islands / October 1, 2019

Last updated at 6:12 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019

Emergency Medical Technicians in St. Croix and St. Thomas, employees critical to responding to emergencies across the territory, today staged a sick out, leaving the Department of Health scrambling to find individuals to replace them, the Consortium can confirm.

Two EMTs — both of whom requested anonymity — told this publication Tuesday morning that the sick out, which saw roughly 15 EMTs in St. Croix and about 16 in St. Thomas deciding not to show up to work, was a coordinated effort to get the Department of Health and other stakeholders to make good on their promise of effectuating long-promised wage increases.

“It’s about broken promises. For the last two months we have been hearing every payday that we’re getting our money, and the merge was supposed to be effective October 1 and we were told that we were going to get our money before October 1,” said one of the two EMTs. “Payday came, today is Tuesday, and up to now nobody has come and addressed the problem. They got a letter from the union on Friday; it was cc’d to all 15 senators. It was sent to Human Resources and it was also sent to [Commissioner Justa Encarnacion’s] office, and up to now nobody has addressed the problem.”

Justa Encarnacion, commissioner of D.O.H., confirmed the sick out to the Consortium this afternoon. “You are correct. The EMTs in both districts have called out sick. Besides a “sick” call there have been no specific reason for the action. However, we have deduced the cause to be wage-increase related as a result of discussions had  between EMTs, HR and D.O.H. leadership. We have been successful in covering the shifts thus far with the dedication of the EMT supervisors, few staff and the assistance of [VI Fire Service] Director Daryl George and his EMTs. We will continue this effort to secure the health and safety of our community members,” Ms. Encarnacion said.

The commissioner said D.O.H. was working to resolve the matter as soon as possible. “Since the action may gravely impact the health and well-being of each of us, we are working with the Office of Collective Bargaining. We are also continuing to process the appropriate documents to ensure their increase is seen as soon as possible. Our HR division is currently working on NOPAs for wage-increases for EMS and other D.O.H. employees. We are hoping that the increase is seen in one to three pay periods since each NOPA is completed individually,” she said.

The other EMT confirmed the first EMT’s comment relative to why the sick out action was taken. “One of the reasons is the pay increase,” said the EMT. This EMT also said the merger has caused some confusion as to who has control over the EMTs.

In July, Government House said the Office of the Governor, the Department of Health and the Virgin Islands Fire Service were moving forward with plans to integrate D.O.H.’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS) with the Virgin Islands Fire Service on Oct. 1 to form what is now called the Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency Medical Service (V.I.F.E.M.S.).

Today’s protest action is the second in under a month. On Sept. 16, corrections officers at the Bureau of Corrections on St. Croix called out sick, an action that was taken, according to the corrections officers, in protest of the government’s failure to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.

Yet while the protest actions taken were identical in nature, the situations with the B.O.C. employees and the D.O.H. E.M.T.s are different, according to Office of Collective Bargaining Chief Negotiator Joss Springette. 

“The EMTs’ contract is effective until 2023; that’s different from the corrections officers whose contract was partially negotiated and needs to be completed,” Ms. Springette said. She said the actions were similar “in the fact that they called out sick, but the [EMTs’] contract is current.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email





Ernice Gilbert
I wear many hats, I suppose, but the one which fits me best would be journalism, second to that would be radio personality, thirdly singer/songwriter and down the line. I've been the Editor-In-Chief at my videogames website, Gamesthirst, for over 5 years, writing over 7,000 articles and more than 2 million words. I'm also very passionate about where I live, the United States Virgin Islands, and I'm intent on making it a better place by being resourceful and keeping our leaders honest. VI Consortium was birthed out of said desire, hopefully my efforts bear fruit. Reach me at [email protected]




Previous Post

Two Arrested for Smuggling $287,000 into St. Thomas Following High-Speed Chase and Apprehension Near Savana Island

Next Post

WAPA Officials Grilled During 12-Hour Senate Hearing on Tuesday



Leave a Reply


More Story

Two Arrested for Smuggling $287,000 into St. Thomas Following High-Speed Chase and Apprehension Near Savana Island

ST. THOMAS -- United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced today that charges have been filed against two men for attempting...

October 1, 2019