They work on the frontline making quick, life-saving decisions within a matter of minutes. Being an EMS worker is not an easy job, and now some believe it’s going to get a lot harder without a new contract with Austin City Council.
Tony Marquardt, president of the Austin-Travis County EMS Employee Association, said the association's contract with the city expired on Oct. 30 after negotiations with Austin's interim labor relations team. Marquardt said they decided the union was asking for around $8 million more than it was willing to offer.
“I think public health is something that we should take very seriously and if we're looking at keeping up staffing levels, negotiating a contract, we have to look at those things. What are the outcomes,” Marquardt said.
Marquardt told KVUE ATCEMS employees are working under civil service rules, which means they can keep their current salaries, but there's no chance for a raise.
“Austin does not pay a comparable wage to continue to employ paramedics to the extent that we need them,” Marquardt said.
Marquardt said EMS workers make a little more than $42,000 a year, which they say is lower than some other states. Marquardt believes EMS' concerns were overlooked during the city's negotiations with APD last year.
“It's driving a lot of unscheduled overtime and the medics are doing an incredible job, but at deficiency of 67 people in vacancies with an ever-increasing call volume,” Marquardt said.
The union will provide a new report for city council next month.
Marquart told KVUE they want to get EMS employees back under their old contract until the union picks up negotiations again this summer.