Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams rallied with dozens of FDNY EMS workers for higher pay Friday, after their unions endorsed his mayoral bid.
“They need more than a hand clap at 7:00 p.m. They need pay equity,” Adams said at the Lower Manhattan rally, referring to the nightly pandemic tradition of New Yorkers banging on pots and pans out their windows in honor of first responders.
The starting salary for city EMTs and paramedics is just $33,000 — slightly higher than the minimum wage. And firefighters are paid $86,000 after five years compared to $48,000 for a top EMT.
“FDNY EMTs and paramedics are the lowest paid first responders in the city, despite our intensive medical training and ability to save lives,” said Oren Barzilay, head of EMS Local 2507, at the endorsement event.
He said his union, with its 4,000 members, backs Adams because he “recognizes the great value” of the job as a retired NYPD captain.
Barzilay frequently sparred with Mayor de Blasio over the pay issue, warning during the coronavirus-induced budget crisis last year that “People will die” if Hizzoner followed through on threats to lay off 400 EMTs.
“The mayor likes to pit first responders against each other. That’s going to change under Eric Adams,” said Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) at the Lower Manhattan rally.
Brannan noted that the pay hike would cost the city $50 million– or just .05% of de Blasio’s $98.6 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2022.