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More respect for EMS



To the editor:

For 10  years, the women and men of the FDNY emergency medical services have been waiting to be paid for work they do, prepping their ambulances with medical supplies and equipment before the next crew takes over. NYC's Law Department has once again lost an attempt to keep the men and women from FDNY EMS from their just wages.

This baffling recourse to losing litigation, including denying EMS personnel "uniform" status, pay and benefits, has been a recurring theme of mayoral administrations for the last quarter century. All mayors have resisted paying the just wages earned by the 4,000+ trained FDNY EMTs and paramedics who annually answer more than a million calls for help. After five years on the job, a trained and experienced Emergency Medical Technician, who maintains up-to-date certification with the NYS Department of Health has an annual base pay of $59,534.

Since 2001, New York City law has stipulated that the EMS be treated as a "uniformed" first-responder service. However, the Bloomberg administration continued the Giuliani administration's litigation against that law until 2007, when courts upheld it. No subsequent mayoral administration has ever adhered to it.

The City Council passed a resolution in 2020 stipulating that EMS personnel receive comparable pay to FDNY firefighters. That didn't happen either. The next "post-pandemic" EMS contract, inked in 2021, was clearly highlighted by the de Blasio administration as conforming "to the pattern reached with other civilian [not uniformed services] unions." The difference now in annual base pay, after five years on the job, between FDNY EMTs and firefighters is more than $25,000.

Will Mayor Eric Adams' administration stop expensive, losing court battles, including defending against the current EMS's lawsuit alleging wage and benefit discrimination, and respect the Council and the FDNY EMS?

Helen Northmore


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