EMS Workers Demand Fairness and Equality

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DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido speaks at a rally on Sept. 25 in which hundreds of EMS workers gathered to call for equal pay with other first first responders. Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera.

Hundreds of first responders, members of DC 37’s local unions representing Emergency Medical Services workers at the Fire Department of the City of New York, rallied for equal pay and comparable treatment at a news conference on the steps of City Hall on Sept 25.

They were joined by Uniformed EMS Officers Union FDNY Local 3621 President Vincent Variale; Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors FDNY Local 2507 President Oren Barzilay; Uniformed EMS Officers President Joseph Pataky; DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido; labor activists and elected officials to demand wage parity and support legislation that would require the FDNY to annually report the number of resignations of EMS workers.

FDNY’s EMS first responders answered to close to 80 percent of the 1.8 million calls received by the FDNY last year, providing emergency medical care in the midst of life-threatening situations. Some have been assaulted by patients while performing their life-saving work.

FDNY’s EMS first responders receive $8,000 less in starting salary than other first responders, and tens of thousands of dollars less after five years. Additionally, about 80 percent of new FDNY EMS hires resign within four years, leaving a less-skilled workforce to provide life-saving medical treatment to millions of New Yorkers.

“Thousands of New Yorkers owe their lives to our dedicated EMS first responders who are on the job 24/7 ready to respond to any medical emergency,” said Garrido. “For too long their work has gone under-appreciated when it comes to their compensation. It is time for that to change.”

“It’s time for the city to bring fairness and equality to our EMS workers,” Variale said.

The legislation has been introduced into the City Council and assigned to its Committee on Fire and Emergency Management.

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