NYC mayor on FDNY EMS pay gap: ‘The work is different’
When asked how the FDNY EMT pay gap compared to his campaign for “equity and social justice,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said he thinks “the work is different”
By EMS1 Staff
NEW YORK — The mayor of New York City defended the FDNY EMT pay gap, saying he thinks the “work is different” than that of firefighters and police officers.
During a press conference updating the media on the federal government shutdown, Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked how the FDNY EMT pay gap squared up with his campaign platform of “equity and social justice.”
“I have deep, deep respect for our EMTs and everyone who works at EMS,” de Blasio said. “I think the work is different. We are trying to make sure people are treated fairly and paid fairly but I do think the work is different. But it is a conversation that we continue to have with their representatives.”
According to city documents, EMTs are paid $47,685 a year after being on the job for five years.
Firefighters with five years on the job are paid $110,293, while police officers make $85,292 after five and a half years, but “officers may potentially earn over $100,000 per year” with benefits, according to NYC.gov.
The National Association of EMS Physicians responded to de Blasio’s comments and said EMS providers “are doing critical work for substantially less compensation than other first responders.”
“While we do not offer specific guidance on compensation for our members nor the EMS community with whom we serve, NAEMSP believes the EMTs and paramedics who provide life-saving care on a daily basis should be paid fairly and impartially with respect to fire and law enforcement colleagues,” the organization said in a statement. “These heroes regularly perform in dangerous situations and risk their lives to help others, and when pay scales are based upon the threats faced by providers and value imparted to the community, these public servants’ contributions should be equally recognized.”
John Jay College of Criminal Justice Assistant Professor of Fire Science John Corbett told The Chief Leader that pay parity for EMS providers is long overdue.
“You are talking about the substantial risks involved for them when they are encountering people on the street in very bad conditions,” he said. “It’s one thing to be in a hospital setting with security guards all around, but it’s very different encountering people on the street in what can be very dynamic situations.”
In November 2017, two EMS unions sued city officials for information on pay, rank, gender, race and discipline history for staff members across different uniformed agencies.
At the time, Local 2507 President Oren Barzilay said it was “time to level the playing field” when it came to first responder wages.
Local 3621 President Vincent Variale added at the time that EMS receives “far less support” than other agencies.
"Mayor de Blasio has stated many times that he is for fairness and equality," Variale said. "EMS receives far less support, promotional opportunity and tens of thousands less in salary than other city counterparts, many in predominantly male departments that are recognized as uniformed. So we think it's time for some fairness and equality for EMS.”
EMS WORK IS DIFFERENTPosted by Lauren Hartnett on Wednesday, January 30, 2019