Pittsburgh and Paramedics Union reach new agreement

The city of Pittsburgh and the Paramedics Union have reached agreements to increase hiring of new paramedics and emergency medical technicians. Mayor Bill Peduto and the Fraternal Association of Professional Paramedics also hope this new plan will reduce mounting costs of forced overtime for Emergency Medical Services personnel.

This was triggered due to forced overtime stemming from 61% of EMS employees being forced to work four or more days of overtime in the second quarter of this year, and 5% forced to work more than 10 days. Despite an increase for Pittsburgh’s EMS medical call and transport services, there has not been any increase in staff.

Another issue is that 41% of EMS employees are over 50-years-old and 35% have been working for the city for more than 26 years.

There are three main improvements in the new agreement.

  • Restructuring the payment tiers for new paramedics to boost recruitment efforts
  • Raising wages for new EMTs to $15 per hour, in accordance with Mayor Peduto’s 2015 Executive Order
  • Allowing EMTs to staff two new basic life support units during morning and afternoon shifts to bolster EMS services, and lessen the need for paramedics to take forced overtime shifts

Mayor Peduto released statement with his passion for this being effective.

“These improvements will mean better public safety services for residents, relief for over-worked EMS personnel, and decreased City overtime spending,” said Mayor Peduto. “I want to thank the paramedics union leadership for collaborating with us to make changes that are beneficial for all.”

Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich is also very optimistic.

“Increasing the manpower of EMS was a top Mayoral directive as Public Safety Director when I was hired seven months ago. By working collaboratively, we have devised a way to maintain the high level of service expected of Pittsburgh EMS while decreasing job-related stress and filling job vacancies.”

Any additional costs of approximately $1.2 million annually will be paid for through reductions in overtime and worker’s compensation costs and from extra revenue from increased transports.

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