2005-11-18 / Editorial/Opinion

A Fair Deal For Our EMS Workers

Mayor Michael Bloomberg worked hard prior to his reelection to finalize contracts with many of the municipal unions that had been without contracts for years. The teachers signed on the dotted line, as did the firefighters and the police. Only one union seems to have been left out in the rush to get city workers on line. That is the union that represents the emergency medical technicians and paramedics who work for the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS). It is hard to understand why they were left out. Perhaps it is because the union fell between the cracks when EMS was folded into the fire department – a move that department fought tooth and nail. Perhaps it is because their numbers are small. It certainly cannot be because the job they do is not valued by our citizens. Our city’s EMS is the busiest in the nation, with more than 1.3 million calls each year. Much like our police officers, when an ambulance pulls up to a call, its occupants never know what they are getting into to. They have been shot at, pelted with rocks from rooftops and assaulted. The 3,000 men and women who work for EMS are highly-skilled and work around the clock just as the other emergency service workers. They deserve the respect of the city and should be adequately compensated for the important job they do.

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