Ex-FDNY Leader Bemoans NYC Medics’ Low Wages

(HorizonPost.com) – The former commissioner of the New York City Fire Department told the New York Post this week that despite a promise 25 years ago to bring their salaries in line with firefighters and other uniformed officers, the city’s EMS workers continue to earn too little.

According to former FDNY commissioner Tom Von Essen, the city’s EMS workers “have been getting screwed around for years.” He said the pay imbalance is particularly shameful given how instrumental EMS workers were during the pandemic when they were risking their own health to transport the sick to hospitals.

Von Essen said he realized that it would take several labor contracts before the EMS workers’ pay was in parity with their colleagues, but after 25 years, it still hasn’t happened.

EMS workers in New York are paid between $39,386 and $59,534 after five years on the job. The starting salary for medics is $53,891, maxing out to $75,872 after five years.

Meanwhile, the starting pay for New York City firefighters is $45,196. By five years, an FDNY firefighter is earning $110,293.

Oren Barzilay, the president of the FDNY’s EMS Local 2507, which represents paramedics, EMTs, and fire inspectors, said many union members have left the FDNY for Nassau County where the starting salary is $50,000 for the first year and $81,191 afterward. The top salary for Nassau County EMTs is $142,730.

Barzilay told the Post that after just one year working in Nassau County, EMTs will be earning $6,000 more than what an FDNY medic will earn after twenty years.

He said while New York City spends tens of thousands to train a single emergency medical service professional, the pay it provides to that EMT is “more like teenagers on a weekly allowance.”

Barzilay said the low pay is the key reason the FDNY’s first responder force continually experiences a “massive brain drain.”

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