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Rural/Metro workers veto contract offer No indication of walkout by ambulance employees

The membership of the labor union representing Rural/Metro Ambulance Services' workers voted down a new contract Wednesday night, but there was no immediate indication that the workers were about to go on strike.

Negotiators on both sides had worked out a tentative contract over the summer after a strike vote had been authorized. Wednesday's vote was 124-80.

There was no sign Wednesday night that the 400 workers represented by Local 375 of the Teamsters Union were getting ready to walk off the job.

"We haven't heard of any indication that at the moment, this vote has any immediate impact on their services," said Peter Cutler, spokesman for Mayor Byron W. Brown.

Rural/Metro spokesman Jay Smith said the strike vote had been detailed but declined to give further details. Union representatives could not be reached to comment.

Cutler said City Hall was keeping close tabs on the situation and that contingency plans have been discussed.

"We'd like to see that [a strike] won't be necessary," Cutler said.

Rural/Metro is Buffalo's exclusive provider of ambulance service. It also provides emergency medical services to many neighboring areas in Erie and Niagara counties.

In July, the membership strongly rejected a proposal advanced by a federal mediator.

Both sides have said over the last few months that they hope to avoid a strike.


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