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NYC delivery workers to make more than FDNY EMTs

Mayor Adams’s plan gives app-based delivery workers $19.96 an hour, $1.02 more than an EMT’s starting pay


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By Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Deliveristas bringing New Yorkers lunch or dinner in coming years will make more money than city emergency medical technicians — and that angers the union representing the Fire Department life savers.

“Is the message that the city government values speedy delivery of bagels, fast food and pizza more than its medical professionals saving lives of other New Yorkers?” asked Oren Barzilay, the president of AFSCME Local 2507, which represents the EMS crews.

Under city rules announced Sunday by Mayor Adams, app-based delivery workers would get $19.96 an hour beginning on April 1, 2025.

That’s $1.02 more than starting pay for a Fire Department EMT, Barzilay said in a letter sent to Adams this week.

Barzilay noted that city EMTs consistently deliver for the city at greater risk, and they don’t get tipped for their efforts.

“Our dedicated FDNY EMS do a difficult and dangerous job — coming into contact with communicable diseases, coping with significant job stress, are often attacked on the job, serving patients with significant mental illnesses and mugged by lawless individuals brandishing weapons,” Barzilay said.

Last year, Barzilay said, a Local 2507 member quit EMS to get a job with the online grocery service Instacart because it came with a “higher wage and without job dangers.”

“[We] deserve better treatment and compensation, yet our employer is focused instead on fixing conditions and wages in the private sector, and not in its own house,” Barzilay said.

The city’s minimum wage structure for delivery workers — enacted under a City Council bill that passed in October 2021 — does not address the workers’ health insurance or other benefits like those offered to members of Local 2507 and other city workers.

Local 2507′s current contract was ratified in 2021.

Under the minimum pay structure announced by Adams on Sunday after months of delay, delivery workers in the coming weeks will see a bump from $7.09 an hour to $17.96 an hour. Their pay will jump again by 2025 to $19.96 an hour.

“Our delivery workers have consistently delivered for us — now, we are delivering for them,” Adams said when announcing the raise.

EMS employees have been historically underpaid compared with FDNY firefighters and other city first responders since merging with the department in 1996, union officials say.

The pay gaps between the two groups continue to this day, even though the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2021 determined that EMTs and paramedics work just as hard as their firefighting counterparts.

Following that report — which stated that “workloads, working conditions, training, and risks to EMS first responders and firefighters are comparable, with a substantial degree of overlapping duties” — the federal government recommended that the city resolve the massive salary gaps between its firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

Entry-level EMTs are paid a base salary of $39,386, according to city officials. Within five years, their pay increases to $59,534. City firefighters start their career with a salary of $43,904 that goes up to $85,292 after five years, according to the FDNY website.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association and the city just last week hammered out a tentative labor agreement that will give firefighters annual salary increases of between 3.25% to 4% over the next several years.

An FDNY spokeswoman said city EMTs “are an integral part of our city and play a key role in maintaining public safety.”

“We look forward to negotiating an agreement for the new round of bargaining that provides fair compensation for the employees while remaining responsible to taxpayers, and our door is open to begin bargaining upon request by the union,” FDNY spokeswoman Amanda Faranacci said.

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