Bill de Blasio pushes back on increasing EMT pay amid coronavirus

Mayor Bill de Blasio said now is not the time to give EMT workers a raise — just days after emergency medical calls surpassed records set on 9/11 in response to the city’s coronavirus pandemic.

“We want to take care of these workers and support them, of course have their backs, but this is a bigger issue in the labor dynamics of this city,” de Blasio said on WNYC radio Friday.

“It’s not the time to, you know, make something up on the fly in the middle of a crisis. That’s just the truth. We’ll figure this out when we get through this crisis,” de Blasio said.

The mayor made the remarks in response to a woman named Willa from Manhattan who called the radio show to ask de Blasio if he’d changed his position on not raising the pay of FDNY EMTs to match the salaries of their firefighter colleagues.

“This is what these men and women signed up for, this pandemic. And they will meet this moment,” Willa told the mayor.

“They’re risking real sickness and death in doing so but they need to know that you have their back. Do you still value the work that FDNY EMS does less than other first responders in terms of real dollars and cents?” she asked.

About 23 percent of all EMS members were out on medical leave because of the virus or other ailments as of Sunday. Last week medical calls were up to around 6,500 per day — hundreds more than the city’s busiest day of the year.

A January 2019 Post investigation found that the city’s emergency worker shortage was due in part to the pay gap among first responders. Firefighters are paid $86,000 after five years compared to $48,000 for a top EMT.

In an exclusive interview with The Post, city paramedic Megan Pfeiffer compared her work on the front lines of the city’s coronavirus pandemic to “battlefield triage.”

“We’re pretty much bringing patients to the hospital to die,” she said.

“We know what we signed up for — though we didn’t expect this. It’s very straining. We’re all exhausted,” Pfeiffer said.

Source: Read Full Article