Log in Subscribe

A few of our stories and columns are now in front of the paywall. We at The Chief-Leader remain committed to independent reporting on labor and civil service. It's been our mission since 1897. You can have a hand in ensuring that our reporting remains relevant in the decades to come. Consider supporting The Chief, which you can do for as little as $3.20 a month.

Break EMS’s pattern


To the editor:

It's mind-boggling that the FDNY emergency medical technicians and medics and their unions have been pushed to file suit to get what they deserve following the decades-long inaction of successive New York City Councils, and up until now, of three mayoral administrations. 

The lead-up to this lawsuit has been in the works for many years. Its pace has given city government officials plenty of time to correct the problem of FDNY EMS wage and benefit disparity, which they haven’t.

A wealth of statements has been made, decrying the huge pay gap between the EMS and the city's other first responders. Those who strongly support change include, among others, former FDNY Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, who oversaw the merger of the former Health & Hospitals Corp.’s EMS with the fire department in 1996, former and current FDNY commissioners, chiefs of EMS, Mayor Eric Adams, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, and NYC Council Finance Committee Chair, Justin Brannan. 

And while she was the city’s public advocate, Letitia James, filed an amicus brief in support of the FDNY EMS unions.

Over and over and over again in this decade alone, the Council has called for EMS pay comparable to other first responders. A 2021 Council report noted that, "When fringe benefits, including pensions, are factored in, the average EMT earns $134,000 less (than a firefighter) and the average paramedic makes $108,000 less." Nothing's happened.

With this federal lawsuit, is the 4,000 member FDNY EMS breaking free of its Groundhog Day-like pattern, trying to achieve equity, all the while government officials are going around in circles? Based on their own public statements, what do our city officials think will happen when this case reaches a jury?

Helen Northmore


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here