FDNY’s Oren Barzilay: Does the city value EMS?

The FDNY EMS Local 2507 president joins the show to discuss wage discrepancies, educating the public about the work EMS does


In this episode of Inside EMS, Chris and Kelly are joined by Oren Barzilay, FDNY EMS Local 2507 president as the FDNY marks the 25th anniversary of its merger with the emergency medical service of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

Barzilay shares that while the merger brought medical modernization to round out the agency's capability in responding to civilian emergencies and provided improvements to training and equipment, FDNY EMS providers are still fighting for equal pay to their firefighter counterparts.

In an op-ed published in the New York Daily News, Barzilay wrote, "Despite their heavy workload, the mostly minority and female EMS workforce recognizes it is being left out in the cold, and horribly underpaid, even a quarter-century after the big merger and EMS began fulfilling new commitments – via FDNY – to the New Yorkers they are sworn to protect.

Barzilay was recognized at the 2020 Whole Health Heroes Awards for his leadership and advocacy during the COVID-19 crisis, working to ensure the safety and wellness of all New Yorkers and leading more than 4,000 FDNY union members as they grappled with historic call volumes and overwhelming health risks during the pandemic. 

Barzilay reflects on the merger and talks wage discrepancies, and educating the public about the work EMS does.

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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”

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