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Fairness doctrine


To the editor: 

City Hall has said hopes "to reach an agreement that is fair to the EMS members as well as the city’s taxpayers" (“EMS unions, city start talks on a new contract,” The Chief, June 28).

Who disputes that the city should "fairly" treat both taxpayers who work as FDNY EMTs and paramedics and their fellow New Yorkers?

But when has the city ever "fairly" treated the 4,400 women and men of the FDNY EMS? At personal risk, they tended 24/7 to tens of thousands of sick and dying New Yorkers and their families during the pandemic. "Fair" treatment would mean that EMTs and paramedics are no longer paid tens of thousands of dollars less yearly in wages and benefits than the 57,000 other "uniform services" members: sanitation workers, correction and police officers and firefighters.  

"Fair" treatment for taxpayers would mean they could rest assured that their calls for emergency medical help would always be answered in time by experienced EMS personnel, who have not worked a 16-hour day to make up for their miserly pay and EMS' staff shortages. "Fair" treatment for taxpayers would mean not wasting tax dollars defending against lawsuits resulting from unfair labor practices. There's one now in federal court triggered by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's findings that noted, among others, the city's failure to treat EMS as a "uniformed" service. "Fair" treatment for taxpayers would mean not wasting tax dollars with endless recruitment and training of new emergency medical technicians and paramedics because the turnover rate is 50 percent in five years.  

No NYC law, no mayoral candidate's promise, no City Council report, no Council member's speech, and no Council resolution has ever gotten EMS "fair" pay and benefits.  It's within the power and authority of the current administration to change that.

Helen Northmore


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