First Responders, with no new contract in three years, blame the Mayor for the impasse.
By Alexandra Moyen
WINDSOR TERRACE — A growing number of New York City’s frontline workers — including paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians — were poised to boycott Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first “Hometown Heroes” ticker tape parade July 7, charging that the city is paying them “poverty wages.”
“We believe New York’s brave essential workers should be recognized in a meaningful way, but the public display from the de Blasio administration is all optics and no substance,” Oren Barzilay, the president of Local 2507, said in a statement. “A parade does not bring this workforce out of the poverty wages they are now being paid.”
During the height of the pandemic, first responders treated roughly 6,500 medical emergencies a day. Despite working mandatory 12-hour shifts, FDNY and Emergency Medical Service workers have not received a raise or hazard pay, their union representatives charge. City paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) have been working without a new contract for three years and are currently trying to reach a deal with the de Blasio administration.
Mayor de Blasio did not comment directly on the boycott, but his spokesperson, Mitch Schwartz, told reporters that negotiations with the union are ongoing and that they are trying to reach a “fair outcome.”
“We urge all New Yorkers to join us in honoring the frontline heroes who did so much to fight back COVID-19,” Schwartz said.
Among those participating in the boycott are members of unions representing EMS workers, Local 2507, based in Queens, and Manhattan-based Local 3621. Also participating will be locals under the umbrella of District Council 37, a labor union that represents the city’s public employees. On Wednesday, the union representing FDNY firefighters also announced they will join the boycott.
The parade in Lower Manhattan is the first in nearly two years and is meant to honor healthcare workers and first responders for their guidance and help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sandra Lindsay, the Queens nurse who became the first person in the U.S. to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, is the parade’s Grand Marshal.
At the event, 14 different floats, and 13 marching bands, will represent 260 different groups of essential workers, with 2,500 people expected to be in attendance.