Virtua Profile: Rafael Labrador - Health Professionals & Allied Employees

Virtua Profile: Rafael Labrador

I have been at Virtua Health since March but I have been in Emergency Medical Services for more than seven years. Before I worked in EMS, I worked for the psych department. I was trained to an Emergency Medical Technician in Jersey City. I moved to South Jersey about five years ago.

Why organize?

We’re organizing a union for our protection and to have better training at work. The benefits of having a union include having access to proper training.

For instance, I had not done Transport EMT work before Virtua Health hired me in March. I have taken patients out of their homes, but I was not trained on how to take patients up the stairs and back into their homes. I got injured doing precisely that. It would have been helpful to learn how to bring patients up stairs. I believe that proper training would have prevented my injury. If we would’ve been trained better to bring patients upstairs, I believe we would have had different results.

Instead of management controlling everything and making decisions without informing us, we need to have a say and know of changes in our work and in the department.

Why should Burlington and Camden counties care about you organizing?

With proper training, there are a lot less injuries to both providers and patients. Providers need training and well maintained and functioning equipment and vehicles to provide the best care to patients.

What would being respected on the job look like?

Having an open line of communication between management and the staff shows a lot of respect.