Union: Austin EMS is being overlooked in labor dispute
Although the EMS department is without a contract, officials say the police labor dispute overshadows their complaints
By EMS1 Staff
AUSTIN, Texas — EMS union officials say that the dispute over police contracts is overshadowing the fact that the EMS agency does not have a contract of their own for the first time in nearly 10 years.
KUT reported that the city spends 67 percent of its budget on public safety, but only four percent is allocated to EMS, according to union officials.
City data also shows that the city’s police officers and firefighters are some of the highest paid in the area, but EMS providers aren’t getting the same deal.
“It turns out we’re below market and by a significant amount,” Austin-Travis County EMS Employee Association president Tony Marquardt said. "[EMS] is a difficult profession and highly in demand. We’re below nationally, we’re below regionally and we’re below locally.”
The association requested a two percent raise each year in a new five-year contract to help fight the rising cost of living, which Marquardt said would bring in recruits for the 75 open positions. The city said the union was requesting $8 million more than they were willing to give.
EMS providers are now working under civil service rules, which prevents any chance of a raise.