EMS Wins Important Decision

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By ALFREDO ALVARADO

DC 37 and Uniformed EMS Officers Local 3621 won an improper practice decision they filed with the Office of Collective Bargaining.

The union, represented by Associate General Counsel Steven Sykes, charged that members of the local who work in the Paramedic Response Units have had their workload expand increasing overtime yet the FDNY has refused to bargain over work conditions.

Not only has the workload increased, but those assigned to the PRU work in a more dangerous environment. The members, who perform paramedic and supervisory duties, are assigned to work in vehicles that, unlike ambulances, cannot transport a patient.

There’s only space in the back for special equipment and there are times we arrive at the scene earlier than the ambulance and there may be safety issues, but we have no safe place to retreat to,” said Local 3621 President Vincent Variale.

The Paramedic Response Units are part of a pilot program started in 2016 by the Bureau of Emergency Medical Service of the FDNY. The PRUs, also known as fly cars, involve dispatching EMS supervisors and certified paramedics to respond to emergency calls and provide direct medical care. The program was started in Division 2 in the Bronx.

“This decision means we’ll finally be sitting down with the city and discussing compensation and other issues,” said Variale, who also acknowledged the assistance of Sykes and Council Rep Tracey Ziemba. “And we can’t forget our members who came to speak at the hearing.”

The DC 37 Blog is an official online publication of District Council 37, AFSCME, which represents 120,000 municipal workers in New York City.

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