NYC council calls for fair pay for FDNY EMS providers

The council unanimously passed a resolution calling for EMS providers to receive pay comparable to that of city fire and police personnel

By Laura French

NEW YORK — The New York City Council has unanimously passed a resolution calling for FDNY EMS providers to receive pay comparable to that of firefighters and police officers in the city. 

The non-binding resolution, passed last week, was sponsored by more than half of the city's councilmembers and cites EMS providers' contributions in combatting COVID-19 as some of the reasons why they should receive comparable pay. 

"The FDNY directed that only EMS would initially respond to calls in which COVID-19 symptoms were reported," the resolution states. "At the peak of the outbreak, as many as 7,000 emergency calls were placed in a single day, a level not seen since September 11, 2001; including the highest three-day call volume in FDNY history."

The resolution also notes that EMS calls account for more than 80% of the FDNY's emergency calls annually, and that EMS providers receive only 12 days of sick leave annually while firefighters are given unlimited sick leave. 

The fact that about one-quarter of FDNY EMS providers were sickened by COVID-19, four of whom died, is also mentioned in the resolution.

EMS providers in the city make about $35,000 less than firefighters and police officers after five-and-a-half years, according to The Chief-Leader

The resolution was unanimously passed by a voice vote, with Council Member Vanessa Gibson dedicating her vote to FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo, who was killed in the line of duty by an ambulance hijacker in 2017. 

The legislation does not create a requirement for Mayor Bill de Blasio to take any action on EMS pay. De Blasio has previously stated that the work done by EMS providers "is different" than that of firefighters, and also said in April that the pandemic is "not the time" to raise EMS pay. 

The resolution had originally been introduced in September 2019 but stalled in the Committee on Fire and Emergency Management until it was amended last month. 

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