EMS union suing the city for more pay testify at City Hall

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EMS union officials testified at City Hall Tuesday demanding more pay for workers.

The union representing emergency medical technicians and paramedics took their fight for equal pay to City Hall Tuesday, testifying in front of a council committee.

EMS says its department, which is mostly women and minorities, get paid significantly less despite facing similar dangers on the job as first responders.

In September of 2019, the union filed an EECO lawsuit against the city for pay disparity. EMS officials say that because of the low salary, membership has been dwindling, leaving less experienced technicians on the job.

They claim EMT's and paramedics are paid significantly less compared to other first responders. "We serve the public every day. We are exposing our lives yet the city is turning their back on us," said Frank Vela.

EMS says they are looking to close the salary gap for EMT's to make it equal or close to that of a firefighter or police officer. Officials say Tuesday's testimony at City Hall is a step forward for the city's EMT and paramedics who respond to the more than million 911 calls each year in the city.

According to the FDNY's website, the starting base salary for an EMT is a little over $35,000. Vela says on average, EMS salaries are about 20 to 40% less compared to other city first responders.

Vela works at Station 55 in the South Bronx and has been with EMS for 15 years. He says few veterans like himself are on the job.

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